Facebook Meets the Flotilla

An old high school friend, who’s taken great exception to a couple of my most recent Jerusalem Post columns, has been telling me of late on my Facebook page how out of touch with American Jewry I am. He let loose again today. Here’s what he had to say:

Hey Danny….yet again a misguided Israeli political and military mission with regard to Gaza that American Jewry will be asked to stand by and support. All over the news Israel will be referred to as “the Jewish State” as worldwide condemnation will pour in. As a Jew I will be on the defensive despite the fact that I have no vote and no say in whatever the politicians in Israel decide. Again, you will no doubt ask for solidarity by Jewish folk worldwide and we will answer for Israeli decision-making. I love Israel as my religious base, but the policies do not reflect my peace loving values. I support Israel with bonds and donations and visits, but the thriving American Jewish experience is independent of it.

OK, there’s a lot there, and most of it I won’t respond to now. But this is one of those moments when I don’t think we have the luxury of writing a column over days, printing it out and editing it, sleeping on it and editing it again. Too much is happening, and people are too hurting and too confused for something not to be said.

To be sure, there’s much more that we don’t know than we do. We’ll learn a lot in the days and weeks to come. But we do know that this was a tragic day and an excruciatingly painful one in Israel. At the fruit market, and at the dry cleaners, I asked people working there how they were, and all I got was a sigh. And then, Yom kasheh. A tough day. They’re going to eat us alive.

They will, indeed, eat us alive. It’s taken a full day for the Israeli government to say anything coherent at all, riots are breaking out in Israeli Arab towns, Israelis in Istanbul have been warned by the Foreign Ministry not to leave their hotel rooms, and the international community is raining down condemnation.

But I jump to conclusions very different than those of my high school friend, and I responded to him in language very close to this:

David, we couldn’t disagree more strongly. Israel’s actions were “misguided”? Let’s take that first. Were there tragic outcomes? Obviously. But “misguided”? Gaza is under the malicious and cynical rule of a terror organization sworn on Israel’s destruction, that is holding an Israeli soldier captive in contravention of all international treaties, and that oppresses its own population while even Palestinian witnesses there acknowledge that there is no food shortage. Given Hamas’ military objectives, Israel would be crazy not to check what’s going in. But Israel had already pledged to pass on any humanitarian goods after they were inspected, and told the boats the same thing. So, no, I don’t think that the idea of stopping the boats was misguided.

What we know is that on five of the ships, the commandos (among them friends of our kids, by the way) boarded the boats, and there was no resistance and no fighting.

On one boat, however, the first soldiers to land on the boat were attacked with metal rods and knives. There’s video of it. It’s playing all over Israeli and all over the internet. In some cases, soldiers’ weapons were stolen and used against them. One was stabbed, apparently in the abdomen. Another was tossed from a desk and trampled when he landed. There were a handful of commandos there, and 600 “peace activists. On Israeli news tonight, the soldiers on helicopters taking them to the hospital were interviewed. They descended the ropes, they said, planning to talk the “activists” into going to Ashdod. Their weapons were not in their hands, but strapped to their backs. “We went into war,” one in his 30’s said bitterly tonight, “and all we had were toys.” They were beaten, trampled, shot (yes, there were bullet injuries) but only after forty minutes of combat did they resort to live five. They were going to get lynched if they didn’t fight back, they said.

Was I there? No. Do I know what really happened? No. But do I trust these kids and their officers? Yes, I do.

As for “peace activists,” David, how much do you know about the IHH? It’s a terror support group, supported by Turkey (among others) and it was ent to provoke. If they just wanted the goods to get to Gaza, they could have agreed to transfer them to an Israeli ship, or to unload them in Ashdod, as the Navy personnel asked them to. But they didn’t want that. They just wanted to break the blockade. Why? For food? Even a few Palestinian journalists with some guts are reporting that there’s no humanitarian food crisis in Gaza. No, it wasn’t about food. They want the blockade broken so that after that, non-humanitarian items (read weapons) could brought in. Why should Israel allow that? So that they can be better armed the next time we have to send our kids into Gaza?

As for “being on the defensive,” you will be on the defensive only because you totally don’t get it. For if you did get it, you wouldn’t feel that way. There’s only one country anywhere on the planet about which there’s a conversation about whether it has a right to exist. Do you ever think about why that is? What, the fate of the Palestinians is worse than that of aborigines in Australia? Or people in the Congo, or Rwanda? Why all the attention on Israel? Do you really not get it? You think that New Zealand just coincidentally decided this week to make kosher slaughtering illegal? You think it’s really about humanitarian commitments? Come on.

No, David, you really don’t have to defend Israel. No one’s asking you to. We know that it’s too late to expect many Americans like you to assume we’re right before you assume we’re wrong. As we look out at Jews across the world, we’re just assessing who gets Jewish history, and who’s so thoroughly intellectually assimilated that they’re actually embarrassed that that Jews don’t have to continue to be victims. I’m horrified by what happened on the ship, and I’ll be shocked if after all is in, we find that Israel made no mistakes. (This was pretty clearly an intelligence failure, at the very minimum, sending those soldiers into something for which they had not at all been prepared or armed.) But if that had been my kid on the ship, and he’d gone in to prevent the blockade from being broken, but had no intention of fighting, and had then been attacked, I’d want him to defend himself. No matter what. I’d want him to come home whole, because that’s part of the new Jewish reality that this country is supposed to make possible.

The loss of life is tragic. So are the injuries to soldiers, including serious head wounds. But most tragic of all is that the world is so willing to be blinded to what’s really going on here.

At the end of this excruciating day in Israel, at least given what I know at this moment, I’m saddened but not apologetic. I’m not surprised by most of the world’s reactions. But I haven’t lost sight of who provoked this, and why they did that. But you’re a very smart guy. Why have you?

About Daniel Gordis

Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. The author of numerous books on Jewish thought and currents in Israel, and a recent winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Dr. Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism.

290 Comments on "Facebook Meets the Flotilla"

  • Nancy Wainwright says

    Israel make me proud to be a Jew! Defending her is exactly what she would do for me if I had the need!

  • Jack Levy says

    Very well put, thank you. The days when Jewish kids, soldiers or not, are willing to be lynched without response are long gone.

  • Liz says

    Kol hakavod!!

  • David Jacobowitz says

    Daniel, right on. Again you have captured the pathos of the situation as well as the ethics of Tzahal’s actions. There will be a media “pogrom” and we will weather it, as we have done many times before. Am Yisrael Chai Venichyeh Leolam.

  • Nancy Hoyle says

    I want you to know that not all American Jews feel as your friend does. I wonder what he would think if he lived in Israel and his friends and family were the ones put in harms way. I cannot imagine and feel that I have right to criticize when I am safe and everyone I love is safe. It is such a frustration when all “American Jews” are lumped together as this ultra-left wing mass. There are some of us out there that are just stunned at the world’s reaction towards Israel. I am so frustrated and sad that there does not seem to be any world support for Israel, even from our own people.

  • Richard Munitz says

    Daniel, a big THANK YOU for so clearly and concisely describing what has happened in this tragic situation. Unfortunately, no matter what Israel does to defend its country, the rest of the world is quick to condemn Israel’s actions. Sad day for all.

  • Andy Beran says

    The world is eager to condemn us. The facts will come out – though they are unlikely to change the reaction. We stand with Israel. We understand the need for self defense. We are not blind to the reality of terror. Thanks for this column.

  • Donald W Aaronson says

    Right on – Thanks again for saying so eloquently what many of us are thinking. Israel, like every other country has a right and an obligation to defend itself. We must continue to act in this way as long as the world lets everyone else but us off the hook for their actions or we will become just another fact in the history books.

  • You last remark to your friend, “Why have you”? WHY INDEED? For the Jews who ‘had a clue in Europe… those Jews were able to read the writing on the wall; they got out of Europe before Europe imploded and Hitler’s Sunnyside fell down and dragged 6 million to their demise. Is your friend asking us to follow their pattern and hide themselves in games of pretend? People like your friend are deluded. The only grip on reality that they have, is the reality of their own fear and ignorance, for surely if he truly had spiritual wisdom from our Tanach, he would automatically know the way the game is being played; it is being played with a stacked deck held by wolves. Wars are declared ‘until the end’; David is in for a very unpleasant surprise. His false hope and clouded reality will not save him on the day that he sees he is living among enemies who only appear to tolerate his Jewish Identity. I can see that you ‘get it’ Daniel Gordis. I do as well. We can’t
    be any other kind of Jew other than an Israeli Jew in our hearts. If I forget thee o Jerusalem, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.

    Davida Geller Rosenberg

  • Saul Lieberman says

    Gut gezogt.

  • Kay Ohana says

    A lot of us American Jews are never asked if we support Israel’s decisions. I wholeheartedly agree with you, and I do not apologize to anyone for any decisions Israel makes. Only for some Jews who don’t face reality.

  • Judy Weiss says

    Ditto David Jacobowitz’s comment. I could not have said it any better. Unfortunately, many American Jews don’t get it, so the rest of us have to be strong in our determination and support of Israel.

  • David Willig says

    What would JFK have done if ships had tried to break the embargo during the Cuban Missile Crisis? If people choose to fight against Israel, they must learn that they will ALWAYS lose (Please God). These troublemakers must be kept in isolation and be traded for Gidon Schalit. They are all volunteers and Israel owes them nothing. Israel should be proud of its actions this morning and should only promise to continue to defend itself with strength and courage. As far as the world, they are entitled to their opinion, but Israel will give their opinion the same consideration as the opinions of the flat earth society.

  • David waksman says

    Right on point again. just what I have been telling my friends all day.

  • Nancy Hoyle says

    I want to know what I said that was a problem. Please let me know why I am the only one that is “awaiting moderation”


  • Jerry Klinger says

    Good clean and truthful answer Daniel. The perpetrators of this farce had no intention of promoting peace. They wanted an incident designed to injure. They probably did not plan that amongst their protestors were violent jihadists determined on murder and bloodshed. Your friend is still mired in the past of the fearful Jew afraid to hit back. Israelis have a right, no an imperative, to defend their citizens. Why didn’t the blockade running go through Eygpt? The Eygptians would have killed them by the hundreds and what good would it do to protest Muslims killing Muslims. The world does not care about that at all.

    Regretfully, Danny has probably signed off from your friendship. He feels threatened because you chose to not quietly pass into the night or even die.

  • Chaim Kram says

    Daniel, I am a subscriber to your newsletters and I read them with interest. However, I am increasingly finding myself frustrated with the increasing ethnocentricity of your columns. I am a proud Jew, I made aliya with my family 6 years ago and we are proud to be living in Israel. But that is not the issue here.

    The issue here is that the Israeli government seems to be finding new means of ineptitude at every turn. The problem is not that the world is against us; it’s that we are doing stupid things, or doing necessary things stupidly. I didn’t disagree with the Israeli Navy’s intention to block the flotilla; but by God they should’ve been prepared for resistance and avoided bloodshed at all costs. I know we don’t know all the details yet, but clearly they failed. That’s all that matters. The fact that there was violence perpetrated by those on board the ship doesn’t excuse the use of live fire by Israeli commandos and the deaths they caused.

    This was essentially a riot on a ship. The IDF didn’t consider this a possibility in advance? Where was the tear gas? The water canons? The rubber-coated bullets? How did Navy commandos have their guns stolen — if they were going to “negotiate”, they shouldn’t have had guns at all!

    Sorry, but I just think your “us vs. them” argument is becoming shrill. We need to hold ourselves to a certain standard — yes, even a higher standard, God forbid — because we deserve to be. If we don’t, then we’re no better than our enemies.

    Yes, they were the provokers. So what? It’s a tough world out there. We need to rise to the challenge and not hide behind ideology and platitudes and lame apologies (“yes, we regret the fact that our ill-prepared soldiers killed 9 lightly armed civilians on a civilian ship in international waters”).

    And it’s not just our PR that sucks, it’s the execution by our government of its policies, doing stupid things or doing necessary things stupidly.

  • Leslie B says

    Daniel you are my hero. You articulate so well the truth. Just know there are American Jews who are PROUD of Israel,and will never apologize for our support of the country and it’s leaders, and all the young Israeli soldiers as well as all the citizens of Israel who put their lives in danger day after day to preserve and protect our most precious Israel. Proud of what that little country has achieved in 63 years and who will stand by you when you are right and even when mistakes are made, for no nation is perfect. I am so proud to be a Jewish woman and have the history of my people and the nation as part of my heritage. As far as I am concerned I stand on the shoulders of the best the world has ever seen and nothing can take that away from me. There are those of us who see the light ,know the truth and what is right, and then there are those like your friend, unfortunately there are too many of them and we all know some of them.

  • Bernard Roth says

    Daniel Shalom,.

    Kol Hakavod on your column this morning. I don,t know how many American Jews think the way your friend does about Israel’s actions to defend herself, but the number is greater than we can afford. To the ISRAELIS we say ” DO NOT BE DETERRED BY THE UN OR OTHERS WHO DISREGARD YOU RIGHT TO DEFEND YOUR LAND AND IT’S CITIZENS. Just continue to do what any other country will do to survive.\

    Bernard Roth
    Fair Lawn, N.J. USA

  • Elliott says

    Dear Mr. Gordis,

    110% with you and Israel. Typical kneejerk reactions on the part of the antisemites/”antizionists” of the world – Sweden,France, Greece (that paragon of National prudent government!!), the EU, and of course the Islamic Conference states. At least the USA is waiting for the facts to be clarified before issuing a formal response! Turkey knows full well who went on the Turkish ship – certainly not “peace activists”!! Of course, Erdogan is no friend of Israel!! And of course, Catherine Ashton of the EU demanding a full inquiry…before she has any kind of grasp of the facts on the ground…

    Well, once again, once the dust has settled, these kneejerk Israel bashers will be busy slowly peeling the egg off their faces.

    Israel, like any other country, has the right, duty and obligation to defend its borders and its people.

    North Carolina, USA
    (saw you give your talk in Davidson last year!)

  • Lee Glassman says

    Are “humanitarian” groups only interested in helping Gazans? The fact that Shalit was kidnapped by Gazans doesn’t seem to concern them. Why did they not arrange for Shalit to meet their flotilla of “peace” and be released as a goodwill gesture? Could it be they had a different agenda?

  • Steven Steinschriber says

    Danny, I love you as a friend. Not just a personal one, but a friend to Israel, the Jews and all of humanity. No one can capture the situation as you do (though Michael Oren was very good on CNN this afternoon). Keep posting and let us hope and pray, somehow, the world will judge Israel correctly. Mistakes may have been made, particularly our intelligence, but the decision that was made to block these ships was correct. Of that there can be no question.

  • Ralph Gidwitz says

    Daniel – Your friend is misguided, much like an Ostrich with its head in the sand. He does not speak for me, and probably he does not speak for the majority of American Jews. Most people I know believe that Israel does what it has to do and should continue to do so.

    I am convinced that Israel has no “peace partners” to negotiate with and will not for the forseeable future. Furthermore, the people who call themselves Palestinians continue to teach hatred there will be no “peace partners” for generations.

  • Cena Abergel says

    Dear Daniel,
    Thank you for answering some of the same questions I get from “friends”. I am more selective these days to whom I give my friendship. Am Yisrael Chai!

  • Daphna Oren says

    So profoundly discouraging. As always, you present a clear-eyed vision. That can only be understood and interpreted clearly through the proper lens. Which it’s increasingly clear can only be found in some Jews in some parts of the world who came of age sometime between – let’s say – 1960 and 1980. I – a committed Jew and Zionist (and Israeli citizen by virtue of being born to 2 Israeli citizens) – am not even able to persuade my own children of the vulnerability of Israel and international hypocrisy in its treatment. The hope to persuade the rest of the planet can only seem meager. Daniel Gordis is one of our most articulate. impassioned, logical and compelling observers. We must cultivate more…

  • Roslyn Kornbluth Rosenblatt says

    Ditto to all of the above. Yasher Kochachah!
    Bravo to all the soldiers and their friends!

  • Linda Weisenberg says

    Daniel, just know that I have been flooded with e-mails from American Jews who DO get it and we are all SOLIDLY behind you and the State. Stay strong and don’t let the ignorance out there pressure you for one minute. We will continue to try to educate the American Jews who are clueless.
    Love you!!!!!

  • betty steinberg says

    Dear Rabbi: A lot of my fellow Americans before condemning Israel should at least wait to see how a deja vu Jenin-Massacre-that-never was happened again. We almost lost 2 young man because Israel simply did not sank the boat, and yet they are carping. Was there a smarter way to deal with the problem? Maybe.Can this coalition deal with the International pressure? I hope.

  • Scott says

    Well put.My son was on one of those ships today.I am proud of him and proud of my country.I am not so proud that this was not carried better than it was but I know surely that it was not for lack of trying.I am glad that my government will not let ships go to Gaza uninspected-for reasons too obvious to even mention.
    What is your friend so embarrassed about?That JEWISH State defends itself against its sworn enemies?
    I don’t get it!
    I sure am not embarrassed.

  • Frederic Leder says

    Rabbi Gordis,
    How sad that you have to confront one of those American Jews who can’t figure out if he’s a Jew or an internationalist. I suspect the US Jewish population is about half of each.
    My only criticism is that the boys who went in were underarmed with poor orders of engagement. They should have carried submachine guns with orders to fire on anyone attacking with any kind of weapon. They should not have descended one by one on ropes but should have boarded the ship in force. I hope this is investigated by the IDF.

  • alan goldstein says

    Why do people think it is not ok for Israel to defend herself. If people were trying to deliver something off the coast of California, wouldn’t the Coast Guard have to check it out. These people might indeed be transporting ugly weapons. Liberals wake up-these ogres just want to destroy you and the rest of Jewry and won’t be happy until it happens. If any other country did this, it wouldn’t provoke such a response.

  • Judy A says

    Dear Dr. Gordis:

    I read your last two dispatches and really agree with you 99%. I am a Hillel professional and see how todays college kids see Israel today compared to how they did 30 years ago. I am sending my own daughter off to UC Berkeley in the fall and have expressed to her that she needs to be an actively involved Jew on campus now, more than ever. I have actually seen other Hillel staff who do not understand the centrality of Israel to the American Jewish experience. Israel is a part of my being as much as I am human. I will always support and love my country. And yet, I read the latest story in Israel and felt a deep pang in my heart. This is what makes it hard for some American Jews to publically support Israel. When I was a kid, it seemed to me, that Israel was never wrong. Yes, they were scapegoated, but when they did something, it was well thought out. You felt like Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin or whomever, was in touch with our President and other world leaders and was alway held in high moral regard. The Israeli military intelligence was first rate. If Israel acted, you knew there was a purpose, goal and that the outcome justified the means. It feels to me like Israel is kind of disregarding the world stage today. They feel at times like renegades. By the way, that was a major gripe I also had with our last president. I get why they need to take care of themselves, but PR is important too. There were nothing on those ships this morning that were contraband to the eyes of the world. It looks like Israel arbitrarily decided to stop these ships and make an issue and there was loss of life and Israel is being hung in the world press. Was Israel justified? YES. Has Israel given plenty of warnings to this group? YES Do I believe that Israel acted in a manner appropriate and do I trust that our soldiers acted fairly. YES. But I still wish that Netanyahu would have talked to some of the major world leaders and tried to handle this with a little diplomacy and not allow the world to frame the issues. He was in Canada and abruptly left that, and cancelled his meeting with Obama tomorrow. You have to wonder if the timing was part of the plan. It just feels like sometimes ISrael is saying, “screw you” to the world. Ok, they have that right, but I am still a Jewish American and it makes it hard for me to do what I know I must do and that is to 100% support my country (Israel) But privately, I do feel a pang of resentment. Israel should not let the world frame all their actions. Yes, the world will always do this, but even their friends are not being helped to try and support Israel publically. I think they need to try and do that. I truly worry about the future of Israel. I really do think about this a lot. I think the times have changed in the last generation. When I hear American Jews who do not get why Israel is central to our existence, I get deeply disturbed. Sometimes I just wish that Israel can help us a little?

  • David Simantob says

    As a Persian Jew, all I know is that when Jews anywhere are in trouble only Israel steps in to defend us. It is not for me to approve of Israel’s actions. Israel has to decide on how to protect itself. My job is to defend the only Jewish state and the only state that gives a damn what happens to me.

  • Judy Miller says

    I am a Canadian Jew and my first reaction to the CBC news reports about what happened was exactly the same as yours. There is always more to the story than makes the news and I have learned to expect that reporters, news analysts and so-called experts over here will report what they want the story to be, spun through the filter of their own personal biases. I, and many others like me in the diaspora, will stand up for Israel and for its inalienable right to defend itself, come what may. Israelis are good people, making unimaginable sacrifices daily for the right to exist and I have seen for myself how they reach out to help even their avowed enemies. Yes, this is a sad, painful turn of events, but I know there is a lot we don’t know and there are a lot of disingenuous people who have become masters at painting Israel as the villain while the well-meaning but naive among us never get around to asking the right questions. Thank you for speaking out so articulately, with integrity and authenticity. Your words ring true and how anyone can fail to be moved by them is beyond me.
    Judy Miller, Montreal

  • Billie Kozolchyk says

    Thank you again, David, for another brilliant analysis of our damned if we do and damned if we don’t position. And good old Cynthia McKinney along for the “humanitarian” ride… Both she and her father blamed her congressional loss, not on Israelis, but the Jews. In fact, her father blamed her loss on the J-E-W-S. It would be Pollyannish of me to assume that the world which is so ready to condemn Israel would bother with facts. But tragically, it will never happen. There was a demonstration outside our federation after the Gaza war and I tried to talk to the demonstrators. Lovely looking young couple with a cute toddler… The trite but true stone wall. “Do you know that when Israel left Gaza all of the greenhouses of a very prosperous agricultural industry which contributed mightily to Israel’s GNP were donated to the Gazans? It would have provided them with a great start toward a healthy economy. However, in no time the greenhouses were destroyed.” That sweet young wife looked at me and said, “That’s not true.” And so those of us who don’t think like your friend will continue to try to break down those stone walls.

  • Lea in Montreal says

    Thank you Daniel, I really needed to read that. I was very close to believing that our response was, indeed, extreme. After a whole day of hearing the Montreal media’s description of this incursion on ships carrying humanitarian aid, I was ready to call friends, and whimper, that just maybe we were not right, this time. With one grandson in the army and 2 more just waiting their turn, I am grateful for your ‘chizuk’

  • Brynn Sugarman says

    A perfect response to today’s tragedy.

    In a certain way, if the world accuses us of being warmongers, no matter how exemplary our behavior, it actually liberates us to do whatever is expedient in protecting ourselves. They want warmongers? Give them warmongers. Next time, instead of letting our boys go down ropes unprotected into a viper’s nest of terrorists and terrorist supporters, rain down something good and nasty from the skies on the enemy down below. The world will bitch and moan for awhile and then move on. No matter: after all, they bitch and moan regardless.

    On another note: I don’t want my tax money going to some Arab MK who is so virulent against the state that he sounds like a Hamas rep when he opens his mouth. When I adopted my daughter from Vietnam,in order to make her an American citizen, I had to pledge on her behalf that she would not ever be a traitor to the USA (she was an infant at the time.) Those who accuse Lieberman of being fascist when he suggests that citizens sign a loyalty oath to the state are ignorant of the fact that the USA already demands this of its citizens, and therefore certainly of its political representatives. Is the USA also fascist?

    What it all comes down to is that Israel is guilty of the exact opposite behavior of what she is accused of: it is a state which, in spite of our enemies both without and within, is shockingly liberal.

    Brynn Sugarman
    Ra’anana, Israel

  • Moishe (Thomas) Goldstein Toronto Canada says

    I do not criticize Israel. And I support the soldiers responding as appropriate.

    However, why is (intelligence failure) in brackets? Intelligence was the key to this mission. A non-Dubai public relations fiasco was necessary as well.

    How can you say that Jews outside Israel are not being asked to defend (your words) or fight for (my words)Israel? The battlefield, if not the war zone, is now worldwide.

    Our outside-of-Israel area of engagement may well primarily be in the public relations realm. But don’t be think that is not vital. What ammunition are we receiving?

    HaShem Oz LeAmo Yiten, HaShem Yevarech Et Amo VaShalom.


    Moishe (Thomas) Goldstein

  • Moishe (Thomas) Goldstein says

    Please delete Toronto, Canada from my submission

  • Mike Fenster says

    Have Israel’s best interests been served by today’s action in the Mediteranean? Unlikely.

    Daniel, you say there is enough food in Gaza. Even if true, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is not only about food. It is about rebuilding homes and infrastructure, importing the things needed for an economy, for schools, for business and agriculture to function. These only happen today because of the tunnel economy. So I think it wrong for you to assume that everyone who supports Gazans is only doing so cynically as a means to bring in more arms.

    Israel is blockading Gaza to force Hamas out, and using an economic blockade as a weapon because Cast Lead had no obvious affect on Hamas. It can only work if Israel simultaneously invests in the PA-controlled territories, to demonstrate that there is an alternative that allows palestinians to live alongside Israel with dignity, but that is hardly happening. So all there is a policy, which Israel was defending today, that seems punitive and ineffective, and leads to further hardening of positions, as well as to further death.

    Is the blockade working? No; there are fewer rockets falling on Sderot, but no sign that Hamas is losing support. So where is the long term strategy to make Israel safer.

    Did Israel offer to send all of the goods in the flotilla ships on to Gaza apart from weapons. I understood Israel only would send on goods deemed by Israel to be of humaitarian – so cement would not have been sent on into Gaza. It seems unclear, but not as straightforward as you indicate.

    Its no use telling us now that IHH is a group that supports terror, because that makes Israel’s case even worse – Israel should then have expected opposition to their boarding a ship in International waters. The lack of preparedness resulting in nine deaths only seems to perpetuate the image of Israel that doesn’t care about the loss of non-Jewish life, and will always go in with live ammunition (‘disproportionality’ again) rather than carefully and imaginatively finding ways to preserve human life in accordance with Jewish and liberal values. It is the perception that those values are no longer part of military training and the IDF’s strategy that is causing such profound struggles amongst diaspora Jews. It is the sense that there is an alternative way forward, one consonant with the Jewish liberal values, but which is being ignored by Israel, which perplexes many of us.

    And finally, Israel’s existence wasn’t in doubt in 1966. Islam might have moved anyway to a rejectionist stance towards Israel due to internal developments within the moslem world, but I doubt that the rest of the world would have questioned Israel’s existence had their not been a 43 year occupation of 2 million palestinians. So lets stop blaming the world and start to develop a coherent and realistic peace policy that understands the world as it is, not as Israel would like it to be.

  • Jonathan Helfand says

    Dear Daniel,

    You didn’t sit on the essay and fine-tune it – you shot from the “lip” and were right on target. As someone who has criticized you in the past, I just wahted to say thank you and “yasher koach.”

  • Well-written as always. Thanks for expressing your thoughts.

  • jesi says

    lol. i trust that if a ship full of jews was accosted by a foreign military in international waters, resulting in 14+ deaths, you would not have a problem with it? (ps-gaza blockade is illegal. so sayeth the un. israel is a criminal state now. sorry dude.)

  • anne brody says

    Let’s play hypothetical…an American blockade of Iran (should be what we are doing) and Hugo Chavez and company send a “peace” flotilla…I am so sure the Americans would let them in and kiss their arrival…

    Those flotillas knew they weren’t going to be let in..and they were offered a peaceful option..they are getting exactly what they wanted international condemnation of Israel..and they didn’t care at what cost…

    As for Lebanon bringing an emergency UN security counsel resolution condemming Israel..YOU MUST BE KIDDING..the same Lebanon that houses and protects Hizbullah and allows them to arm to the teeth against security resolution 1701..

  • Shearn Platt says

    Right on Daniel. Israel doesn’t have any more cheeks to turn. The Palestinians and the world at large must finally come to understand that the State of Israel will not sacrifice its security and the well being of its citizens for the sake of “public relations”. When this lesson has been learned there will be no more such provocations and peace will be close at hand.

  • Harold Weissler says

    A few weeks ago, a true war crime occurred at sea, when a North Korea torpedoed a South Korean naval ship in an unprovoked attack, killing 46 sailors. While there were some pro forma condemnations, the world essentially shrugged it off. But when Israeli forces defend themselves in a legal police action, the “international community” becomes hysterical. Daniel, your quick reply to your friend was right-on: factual, objective and cool. I will be forwarding it to as many people as possible, who need to be equipped with the facts. But your friend David, as well as your students at the University of Judaism who felt no connection to Nachshon Wachsman z”l (discussed in your latest Jerusalem Post column), do represent an enormous problem. The “brit goral” that Rabbi Soloveitchik wrote about so eloquently simply does not exist for a large portion of our people. That is a current danger for the Jews of Israel, but even more importantly, it represents a spiritual and existential tragedy for the entire Jewish people.

  • Lloyd Trufelman says

    I’m sorry, but the handling of the flotilla was a tragic display of incompetence at the highest levels of the military/intelligence command. All the facts aren’t in yet, but from day one, the flotilla was designed to provoke and embarrass Israel – and sadly the government played right into the Gaza radicals’ hands. I have no doubt that the soldiers boarding the boats did the best they could tactically once things got out of hand, but where was the training and planning scenarios that would have anticipated the extremely high possibility of an on-board attack or some other kind of entrapment? It could have been repelled very firmly, but without the loss of multiple lives. Yes, it is challenging to be a defense force that handles provocative situations in an effective and humane manner, but from the outset the goal should have been to deflect the trap in the most intelligent way possible, and in doing so could have positioned Israel as not just simply stronger than its adversaries, but far more clever.

  • Miriam Edelstein says

    First, I want to tell you to get a new friend. This one is an embarrassment.
    Second, your article was perfect!
    Israel needs better PR, better intelligence, and better preparedness.
    Having said that, I want to point out what Haniyeh said: If we win, we’re victorious; if we don’t win we’re still victorious (or words to that effect)..
    This was a provocation meant to put Israel on the defensive. Why else would these would be “saviors” bring small children on board knowing there could be fighting..
    Israel sends 15,000 tons of aid a day to Gaza. There were 10,000 tons on those ships. It’s a spit in the ocean!

  • Shoshanna says


    I must disagree- the loss of life was not tragic. They went in to lynch- Chaval we left the rest alive to come at us again-


  • Charles says

    Daniel, I have followed your columns for some time, and heard you speak at our shul in the US last fall. I agree with your position and your views almost all the time, as well as the views of most of the posters above. However, as at least two of the posters have pointed out, a crucial part of this issue is the quality of the intelligence the IDF had before this incident (and its readiness to deal with anticipated problems), and the need to have PR ready in advance for negative outcomes.

    Israel is always playing “catch-up” on the world stage. It is unfortunate but it is a reality that it must be better prepared and in a purer position than any other state when it takes actions as it did with the flotilla. Those in the know may wink and nod at Israel’s justification for the operation, due to the fact that arms have often been smuggled into Gaza by innocent-seeming means (e.g., in ambulances), but the vast world population ignores that and just looks at the stereotype of state action by a bully against “innocent” civilians.

    The true state of affairs needs to be particularly made clear to young American Jews who in droves are rejecting Israel’s state actions taken in its own defense. This is a problem you have clearly identified in your writings and speeches, but it cannot be emphasized enough that a major campaign must be mounted in the US to reach young American Jews on this point. That does not seem to be happening, at least not in a sufficiently effective way.

    As an American Jew, I do what I can to speak out the truth, but established American Jewish organizations need to take to heart this issue of Israel’s right to defend itself with all the difficulty that entails, become invested in it, and actively pursue it, particularly with young American Jews, and other young Americans too, the rising generation here.

  • Darren717 says

    Funny. If they were from any other place, the Israelis would be called pirates attempting to hijack much-needed supplies!! But because they’re Israelis, now they’re considered ‘heroes’! Always entertaining!

  • Cathy Morris Alterman says

    Thank you for saying loud and clear what so many of us are thinking. When Hamas says simply that they do not seek the destruction of Israel, then they can invite all their supporters into Gaza. Until then it would be pure folly to allow them to swell their ranks. Israel offered to have their “aid” delivered to Gaza but aid to the Palestinians was, and is, not their goal; the death of Israeli’s and the total destruction of Israel is their goal. The audacity of the critics of Israel must be met by loud cries from the Jewish community worldwide: We will defend ourselves and Our Land and we will not apologize for it.

  • Icek Mozes says

    Dear Daniel,

    You say your high school friend is a “very smart guy” and you close your column with a direct question to him: “How have you?” (i.e. basically concluded that Israel was “misguided.”)

    Please be relentless in following up your friend for an answer that he’s willing to let you publish. It is the thinking of these folks that I find most vexing, and have yet to meet anyone (much less someone you’d consider a “smart guy”) who would give even a coherent, much less an intelligent response.

  • The answer, of course, is very simple: every country must agree that Israel has a right to exist, and all must agree to do nothing to prevent that. They don’t even have to do anything positive; just stop being negative. Israel, by itself, can take care of itself if the others would agree that it has the right to be.

  • John Norvill says

    Full marks on your article. My response to this event is to raise the Israeli flag outside my home to testify whom I support.
    As for the making of kosher slaughtering illegal in my country, NZ, this is a reflection of the growing racism and abandonment of our moral heritage.

  • Sally Ruth says

    We need no excuses to survive!

  • Simcha freedman says

    Thanks for your words and God bless you.
    To me ” Am Yisroel Chai ‘ is more than a slogan. It is an imperative and should be read ” Am Yisroel Chai! ” Nation of Israel, LIVE!
    We have a right and a duty to live and to flourish and to bring to the world the goodness and the greatness which is at our core and is our purpose and destiny as well as our legacy.
    We live in a world which wants to deny this right…a world that condemns us at every turn while not taking note at the lies, deceit, provocations, threats, attacks and murders perpetrated by our enemies against us. Nor do these same vilifiers respond to the evils and genocides taking place all over the globe.
    We shall prevail.We must if the world is going to survive.
    Thank you for your passion and your truth.
    Simcha Freedman

  • Sally Ruth says

    Referring to former entry–what moderation do you need? JEWS NEED NO EXCUSES TO SURVIVE!! Therefore, Israel need make no excuses for whatever it must do to survive.

  • Yehudit from Evanston says

    Dear Danny,
    Kol hakavod! Although I’ve been a fan of yours for years (and still am), you’re a little too far to the left of my comfort zone. But this time you’re spot-on. Of course the world won’t be persuaded. But if our fate depended on the world’s opinion, we’d be so screwed. No, what counts is for HaShem to hear cries such as yours and a whole chorus of like voices. Regarding conditions in Gaza, I refer you and your readers to the following:

  • Jack says

    It can only work if Israel simultaneously invests in the PA-controlled territories, to demonstrate that there is an alternative that allows palestinians to live alongside Israel with dignity,

    Mr. Fenster,

    If money was the answer to the problem life would be simple. Well, aside from the fact that widespread corruption has ensured that the billions of dollars spent on Palestinians has been wasted.

    We could talk about Hamas and how they use mob style tactics to take control of Gaza. Or how they continue to use terror to control the citizens within. We could talk about how they use children as human shields, but I wonder if you wouldn’t try to excuse their behavior in some manner.

    Israel should be held to standards and criticized when it falls short as should all countries. But it must be done on a uniform and level basis. It does not happen and the continued inconsistency suggests that there may be other more nefarious reasons why.

    In some ways I don’t care what the reason is. I just see that the unwillingness and inability of the world to hold those accountable for this creates more bloodshed.

    During the last Gaza war I attended counter protests where twenty something year old men told me that they wished hitler would have finished the job. This was in Los Angeles, not Europe or some little backwater town.

    It happened in large part because there is war of ideologies taking place now. Hamas and company have inculcated a culture of death. As part of their plan they and their supporters continue to engage in tactics that are designed to delegitimize the state.

    They use buzzwords like disproportionate without any understanding of what that really means.

    It is a sad thing. Africa burns, the Chinese continue to engage in horrific human rights violations and no one cares. No one talks about Putin’s action against Chechnya.

    No one talks about Israel was more effective in saving Haitian lives than any other country. That stuff is forgotten because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    And G-d forbid that anyone say a word to Turkey about having murdered Armenians because again it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Haniyeh and company are just said that Israel didn’t sink those ships or kill everyone on board the way that the North Koreans or Iranians would have.

    Anyway, Rabbi Gordis you did a tremendous job with this article. Those that dislike us will continue to find reasons to. We need to continue to find ways to support those who are undecided or those who would support us but don’t know how to.

    Thank you for this and my apologies for the long comment.

  • Kenneth P. Katz says

    “Were there tragic outcomes? Obviously.”

    I hope that this refers to the injured Israeli sailors, who deserved better than to be sent to a knife fight armed with paintball guns. The IDF should remember an essential rule, which is to bring a gun to knife fight.

  • heni weisfogel says

    Your article was excellent. unfortunately, most assimilated Jews will not agree with you. If we as Jews do not support our brothers and sisters in Israel, who will? The trend to delegitamize Israel is on the rise. Israel is not allowed to defend itself and its people. One wonders if the Obama administration was faced with a flotilla of enemies, would our navy sit by without trying to stop them? Israel had guaranteed that all humanitarian aid would go through, so it appears that this flotilla had one purpose and one purpose only:to stir up worldwide condemnation of Israel. It is obvious that their people never come first. Golda Mayer once said, there will be peace only when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us. This has yet to happen.

  • mordechai goldman says


    Daniel Shalom,
    First of all – Kol haKavod! It is good that there are Jews like yourself who, despite being part and parcel of “An Anxious State”, are willing and more importantly able, to express eloquently what so many of us feel. Perhaps you will forgive me, however, if I do not even feel saddened at this particular loss of human life – these people were clearly sworn enemies of the Jewish People and their state, even if some of them were Jews. We have no need to attack, but we do have every need to defend, the stated goal of the ID(defence)F. Today was my mother’s yahrzeit, which gave me an opportunity to be at home (more than I usually am!) and to reflect on what was going on. My parents did not always see things the way we did, but they brought us up to question and to investigate, and we also received a healthy dose of Jewish pride and Jewish realism. They did not like rocking the boat in the Canada of the 50s, 60s and 70s that we grew up in. Life then was so much better for the Jews than it had been in the 20s and 30s when they grew up. But they were very prescient and taught us that Jewish history is a series of waves with its ups and downs. They knew that we are living on the crest of a wave and that this could, and was likely to, change. And indeed it has. They were even aware enough to warn us that Jews could turn against their own People. It had happened before, and it could happen again.
    Their words have come home to roost…
    We must be vigilant.

    That said, perhaps you will permit me yet again to differ on something you said in your previous article. You speak about the occupation. It is clear to me (in Hebrew it sounds nicer, we say “l’aniyut daati”!) that Israeli Hasbara suffers, and has suffered, over the last 6 decades and more, because our leaders “haven’t got it yet” either… The dangerous experiment of Oslo has at least taught us that the Arabs are not interested in co-existence. I would go even further and suggest that they (so-called Palestinian Arabs, at least) are not even interested in having a state at all. If they were, they would have started building one already. You may be interested in being reminded that as of this writing, the only city in this country ever founded by an Arab regime is Ramle (as stated in “Kol Makom v’Atar)! So much for building a state. That being the case, deciding that we are occupying is difficult hasbara at best. It IS called occupation in Judea and Samaria but not in Jerusalem ? It IS called occupying in Sheikh Jarrah but not in the Old City ? And what about the Golan? Is wherever we have declared Israeli law not occupied and where we haven’t it is???
    Our fair city of BeerSheva is on the “wrong” side in the 1947 Partition Plan. What does that make us? And what kind of mealy-mouthed verbiage is it to say that “we have historic rights to these places, but for the sake of peace (which doesn’t exist) we are willing to give it up…?” And when there isn’t peace, we will take it back, beause it really is ours, we just don’t want to bother you…?

    But I digress, and I am tiring you out. You have heard it all before, and you surely have some answers of your own. But until we stop talking about giving away the so-called occupied areas for the sake of peace, we will never have peace with our neighbours.

    And in any case, the real peace we need to seek is within the Jewish family. On that score, you might be interested in the following (a different take on the subject that I wrote at Chanukah a number of years ago):

    As we enter the Festival of Chanukah (unlike the American holiday of Thanksgiving, this one needs no special permission to celebrate it!), we become more attuned to the special role that light plays in our life in general, and in our Jewish lives in particular. Also worthy of note is that the zodiacal sign for this month of Kislev is “keshet”, rainbow. The first rainbow after The Flood was seen in Kislev. “I have given my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of a covenant between Me and the Earth.” [Bereishit 9, 13]

    One of the more fascinating aspects of the rainbow is that it can be created in an artificial manner, without the need for relying on rain and sun. If, for example, we take a simple glass prism and pass a ray of white (ordinary) light through it, the light undergoes what is called refraction – i.e., it breaks up into the various colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. And of course, an infinite number of shades in between.

    What is perhaps less well-known, is what happens if you try to reverse the process. Can we change the rainbow back into a ray of white light? It seems to me that if you line up another prism exactly like the first in such a way that the colours created by the original rainbow can re-converge, then indeed you get back a ray of white light. Apart from being dependent on very exact geometry, this process depends on another critical factor: the presence of all the colours. If for instance we could place some kind of a filter between the two prisms, so that one or more of the colours would be filtered out, then the other colours would neither re-converge into a single ray of light, nor would the resultant colour be white. White, in light, is the combination of all the colours together. “What goes in must come out.” The same colours that appear when the white ray gets refracted, have to be present in order for the reverse of that process to take place, i.e., in order for the ray of white light to obtain.

    There is a lesson in this interesting artifact of nature for the Jewish People, which is particularly appropriate at this juncture in our Torah reading. Parashat “Vayeshev” is the first of the last four parashiyot of the book of Bereishit, in which we learn of the interactions between Yosef and his brothers. If the Jews are supposed to be a “light unto the nations”, then we may indeed be composed of many colours. And if those colours are supposed to blend somehow into one ray of light, then all the colours have to be present.
    One of the most frequently-used terms for Eretz-Yisrael in the Tanach is “eretz zavat chalav u’d’vash” – a land flowing with milk and honey. In our literature throughout the ages, much use is made of – and many hidden meanings are found in – the initial letters of words. Even today in Israel, “initial letters of words” have become words in themselves – TzaHaL, the IDF, is perhaps one of the best examples. This use is so widespread that in some cases the original meaning is even lost. The initial letters of this description of Eretz-Yisrael – “eretz zavat chalav u’d’vash” – after some re-arrangement, form the word, “echoz” (s.) or “ichzu” (pl.), meaning “grab hold of”. We could interpret this to be telling us that the first thing we should with regard to our Holy Land is to hold onto it. However, it is not the initial letters that concern us here, but rather the final letters.

    The last letter of “eretz” is tsadi sofit, of “zavat” – tav, of “chalav” – vet, of “u’d’vash” – shin. When we re-arrange these letters, we can obtain: tav, shin, vet, tsadi sofit. The letters written in this order spell the word, “tashbetz”, the Hebrew term used for “crossword puzzle”. What is a crossword puzzle? According to the Webster’s dictionary, it is “a word-guessing puzzle arranged in a diagram in which the words, when correctly supplied, cross each other horizontally and vertically, so that most letters appear in 2 words.” To this may be added that there are only 26 letters to the English alphabet. There are many more letters than this number that provide answers to the clues in the puzzle. However – even though several letters may appear to be the same, they are actually different. They are providing the answers to different clues. Even when ostensibly the same letter ‘appears in 2 words’ – it is actually fulfilling different roles. For the purpose of a letter is not just in the shape and meaning of that letter, but also the position it occupies in the puzzle. In fact, while one letter may fill 2 words, there are no 2 letters that are exactly alike. This is in fact similar to a jigsaw puzzle. There too, while 2 pieces may appear to be very similar, in fact they are occupying different positions and therefore are fulfilling different roles.

    The Jewish People is also meant to be the pieces filling a “tashbetz”, a crossword puzzle. We may appear to be similar to one another, to the extent where we even feel that they – the Jewish People – don’t really need us. Someone else can do it. Well, ‘it ain’t’ so! Each and every one of us was created for a special purpose. We have many things in common with our fellow human beings, and moreso with our fellow Jews. But we – each of us – is also not exactly the same as anybody else! We are supposed to fulfill a very specific role in putting that puzzle back together again.

    Therein lies the connection to the ‘keshet’/rainbow. As we said previously, “if those colours are supposed to blend somehow into one ray of light, then all the colours have to be present. ” The Jewish People were scattered to the four winds nearly 2000 years ago – actually, many of us have not returned to our ancestral homeland for much longer than that, from the time of the exile to Babylon, about 2400 years ago. Divine Providence Has provided us with an opportunity to come home again, in our generation.

    But living in Eretz Yisrael is not just about coming home again, although it is first and foremost that. It is about “putting the puzzle back together again”. Each of us – no Jew excluded – has to find his/her place in that “tashbetz”. That is the only way the puzzle will become complete. That is the only way that the various shades and colours can possibly blend together again to become a ray of white light, a “light unto the nations”.
    And that can happen only in “eretz zavat chalav u’d’vash” – a land flowing with milk and honey. And, apparently, it will happen only after fulfilling the initial imperative of “ichzu” (pl.), “grabbing hold of”. The first thing we should with regard to our Holy Land is to hold onto it. Then we should start putting the pieces back together again…

    If and when you have some “copious free time” (a Tom Lehrer-ism), I’m here…
    B’v’racha u’b’hatzlacha,

  • Steven Schrier says

    We saw the videos taken by both Turkish TV team and IDF photographers. The Pro Palestinian activists clearly wanted a fight and they suffered the results. The politicians and the world press have their own agendas. We know Israeli did what it has to and we will continue to support you come what may.
    Steven from Hayling Island, England.

  • Connie says

    I agree and where will your friend go to when they start coming after the American Jews? Israel…..Do they think that they will escape all the Hamans in the world? They will not, they better do as Ester did and go into the inner court for Israel, if they perish , they perish.

  • Steven Schrier says

    You should be aware that George Galloway, the most virulant pro palestinian activist in the UK, was not re-elected to Parliament in the May elections. He had been a Member of Parliament for 23 years and recently had his own program on Press TV, and Iranian sponsored TV station. At the same time, the electors ‘sacked’ 11 British National Party local councillors in the same area. BNP is an extreme right wing party.

  • Helene says

    The IDF did what they had to, to bad they did not have the proper arms they should have had. The Palestinians were looking for a fight. There is no shortage in Gaza for food, the only shortage there is for the people to stand up to Hamas which looks to incite the people against Israel.

  • Meyer says

    I am surprised at the decision of the IDF to send troops into what could have been (and has proven to be) a hostile situation, virtually unarmed. Firearms, either unloaded or not immediately available for use are correctly called “toys” as they were in this dispatch. Have the commanders of those soldiers learned nothing from the U.S.experience in vietnam. Whoever made the decision to put troops in danger in this way should be relieved of the command they now hold and subjected to whatever disciplinary action may be their due.I am not familiar with the IDF military codes, or I might be more specific.

    Other than that I agree with the action taken by the Israelis. The organizers of this “supply” venture were informed that their ships would not be permitted to land in Gaza but would be subject to inspection in Ashdod. They preferred to disregard this warning and must have known that if they tried to run the blockade it would be considered a hostile act. Hamas considers itself at war with Israel and war and hostile acts can result in casualties — including fatalities. The Israelis may have erred in the orders to their troops. The organizers of the flotilla can only be considered to be dumb gamblers or military provocateurs — and deserve no sympathy.

  • Steven Roberts says

    Mr. Gordis,
    I think we can all agree that NO blame should be placed on the Israeli soldiers who fought back when their lives were threatened. They acted the only way they could. However, this does not absolve the leadership of Israel of mishandling this whole situation in a tragic manner. They really had no thoughts or contingencies for a violent reaction? This very sophisticated military could not come up with a better plan to divert these boats without serious injury to Israeli soldiers and the passengers on the boat? Simply pointing out that many of these “humanitarians” had malevolent intentions does not absolve the Israeli leadership of responsibility for their colossal stupidity. The best reaction would be Israelis to demand the resignations of Barak and Netanyahu.

  • Ruth says

    Thank you. This column is a sorely needed response to major world media’s inability to provide a balanced story. I have watched the videos. We will learn more. Meanwhile thank you. As an American Jew this column gives me help in formulating my response to colleagues and friends who will want to know my thoughts.

  • Trevor Katz says

    Hi Daniel,

    The IDF and Israeli police have a responsibility to keep the country safe. In so doing they warned the infiltrating vessels that they and their cargo were not welcome. As the videos and soldiers reports are scutinized it will become painfully clear that Israel was not at fault.
    I would like to know from your friend David whether he would have liked to see footage of his son, were he part of the IDF, being strung up or beaten to death. Is this what it will take for you to comprehend the true intentions of Hamas ??

  • Stuart Wilder says

    I can find no version of the above account of the raid on any other non-Israeli English site reporting news from Israel. There are ways to get information out, and to make friends who will at least listen to you, but time after time Israel fails to even muster the effort to master them. And there is the whole issue about preparing for a bad outcome should one happen or appear to happen. In both execution and follow through of nearly everything affecting international relations, the current government is an abject failure.

  • marcia weiland says

    Thank you for the cogent information. In addition, one of my first thoughts was that the incident was timed to coincide with Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. to mend fences with the president.
    Our prayers are with the injured soldiers.
    Marcia Weiland

  • Meir ben Avraham says

    I want to associate myself 100% with the incisive remarks of Chaim Kram above. This operation was a farce–a muddled combination of Entebbe, Achille Lauro, and Rainbow Warrior. Nobody is blaming the IDF commandos for responding in self-defense, they are outraged by the epic incompetence of the politicians and military commanders who sent them there.

  • Tamar says


    Thank you for your insightful and poignant response. It is tragic that we can sit in America, in the presumed comforts of the world touting we support Israel, and yet write such rhetoric as David wrote. I think he is representative of the vast majority who don’t understand and are loosing touch with the reality of Jews in the land and one day everywhere. It is my prayer that we support Israel in word and deed. I pray that we honestly and objectively recognize and acknowledge the threats against her. Finally, I pray that we stand for her, in word and deed, no matter where we live. Thank you for faithfully, honestly, and objectively presenting the truth.

  • Andrew says

    The bottom line is the Israelis should have been better prepared. The assault / boarding of the ship should have been done simultaneously by air & ship as to keep the crews from being able to concentrate on just one group. There also should have been snipers in the air to protect the soldiers as they fast roped on to the deck, to prevent exactly what happened. Always to be over prepared then under prepared, especially with the chance of a violent encounter.
    No other country goes to such lengths to protect those that mean them harm as the Israelis do. That practice as far as I’m concerned needs to end.

  • Spanish Eyes says

    I just wrote the White House an email, stating the following:

    “Please spare us from the false reporting by the media on the ‘humanitarian’ aid being sent to Gaza. Is there any way you can assure the media reports the facts? It’s demoralizing to think that the media assumes the public is stupid. Even more so, if our government thinks it.

    Israel gave fair warning, before boarding the flotilla and even before the flotilla’s attempts to violate the blockade. The obvious disdain for the efforts to prevent weapons from being imported into Gaza, just belies the true nature of what ‘they’ call humanitarian aid, but is just an attempt to rattle the cage of the world against Israel, for its actions of self-defense.

    I pray Mexico doesn’t bomb our cities on the border, that we blockade incoming ‘disguised’ humanitarian aid to Mexico, and that the USA is accused as the aggressor, when enemies attempt to violate the blockade.

    Let be fair and just!

  • Alain Mizrahi says


    KolHakabod for your response. Completely agree with you. The IDF and Israel is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. We live in Newton, MA with a daughter in Israel who will in a few weeks will be in the IDF. David, just does not get it, another self hating Jew like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. G-d help Isreal with people like that.


    First, the bungled assassination in Dubai.

    Then the misguided expansion of building in East Jerusalem during a particularly sensitive period, provoking Israel’s closest ally, the United States.

    Now, killing on vessel of the first Moslem country to develop diplomatic relations with Israel.

    It is said that those who the gods would destroy they first make mad. It looks like the current Israel government is crazy. How could these fools be so incompetent?

    Rabbi Gordis’ skill set seems quite light in the areas of intelligence work, international diplomacy and military affairs – yet he mounts a defense of the profound criminal ineptitude of the present Israeli regime. His heart is in the right place – but where is his mind? He and his family have a place to escape to if the whole thing comes crashing down. But millions of Israelis will have no where else to go if the unthinkable were to occur, God forbid. I do not know if Daniel Gordis is being loyal to them by his reactive, glibly uncritical defenses of Israel’s stupid and tragic mistakes.

  • Maxine Schwartz says


    You need to trade in your old high school friend for someone with a modicum of common sense and historical perspective. Though I see nonsense like what your ‘friend’ wrote everyday, it still pains me mightily. I wonder if he thinks there is any other armed force anywhere in the world or anywhere in the history of the world which fights with the purity of arms as does the modern State of Israel. Maybe he thinks we should all just roll over and play dead or be dead.

  • Helen Cohan says

    It breaks my heart to learn again what my American Jewish brethren are foolishly saying. They have their “liberal” views —- let’s love everyone, but have they even an inkling about how hard it is to protect this Jewish people — especially our beloved homeland Israel? Sadly the same naive, impotent and self-lauding attitude is growing about our Jewish existence in this country, too. Ultimately, the problems that Israel is facing in “its bad neighborhood” will be in ours, too. I don’t know what to say other than keep the faith. Keep supporting honesty; keep highlighting Israel’s realities; articulate, as you do so candidly and beautifully, the truth, because, dear Rabbi, we need to hear it, to feel it and to learn from it and . . . we need to continue to support Israel.

    G-d bless you.

    Helen Cohan (Boca Raton — the lady who held up your book at David’s Citadel and loves it when you come to Florida)

  • Homer says

    All this is nothing but propaganda and i believe it is directed at the Jews. The Muslims (Palestinians and not muslims that is NOT their title) Palestine is Jewish land and it wil remain Jewish land and I believe God! He gave it to Abraham unconditionally and that’s it! Muslims wll be kicked off the land and that’s it! Believe it or not!!!Go ISRAEL!!! Need some help in the battle front, I will come fight w/you!!!

  • sam solomon says

    well said. we have to keep saying it. anti-israel bias is based upon ignorance and arrogance.

  • Chris Twinn says

    There is a convenient blindness that the majority of the world enjoys. Some chose it and some accept it because they know of nothing else but what they have been told by the mass media. Every now and then the balance is tipped outside of Israel by an attack (no one seems to care about the daily attacks in Israel) and then the world momentarily see’s the truth only to slip back into slumber and dream that it was some how Israel’s fault after all.

    Terrorism is not simply the use of weapons that kill or maim. It is the planned, organised use of fear as a weapon. Something is seriously wrong with a world that wants to believe terrorists. This problem is perpetuated by trying to figure out a middle eastern mindset with a western post modern understanding. These are not only foreign to each other, they are opposed. Unfortunately those on the terror side understand how to manipulate this. But then again nothing about this is new under the sun! Is Israel unique in making unwise political decisions in a time of pressure? No they are not, but unfortunately they are unique in the scrutiny of such decisions. There is not a nation on this earth (I am Australian) that would show as much restraint as Israel has. I for one am renewing my dedication to please the case and advance the cause of Israel.

  • Victoria says

    This was a very good piece I’m happy to read. As a Jewish American I really need to hear more from Israel about what is going on there, on the ground, and in people’s minds.

    I’m sorry that the piece ended on a defiant and petulant note, saying “no one is asking you to defend Israel.” That’s the point — no one has to ask. We defend Israel right or wrong, and lately it’s been more wrong than not.

    There is a huge presence of anti-semitism in the US, and every time Israel engages in anything that can be considered extreme force or aggression, the rest of the Jewish world suffers for it.

    Thanks to people like Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky, the American liberal Left has become a vocal opponent of Israel. The very people you would think would support a Jewish state actively lobby to withdraw financial support for Israel.

    Liberal American Jews have a hard time defending Israel’s heavy handed military tactics, human right’s abuses, and expansion of settlements. We WANT to defend Israel, and to believe in it, to feel it really does represent a homeland for the Jewish people. But we also have to be true to our core values, which are so often violated. This is a difficult position made more so by not actually being IN Israel, and hearing everything through various mouthpieces who we don’t know that we can trust.

    It helps all of us to be able to understand the Israeli perspective, so I do appreciate this piece and I hope to read more writing like this in the near future.

  • Steve Kalin says

    I absolutely agree with Daniel Gordis. Israel is right to blockade Hamastan and right to stop these terrorists and leftists. American Jews whose “peace values” are offended can go to hell. This is the same leftist mentality that always supports the enemy: the Soviet Union, the North Vietnamese, the Cubans and now the Palestinians. When the shooting starts, they have to defend the “other”.

    What I can’t understand is why Israeli leftists, such as Gideon Levy, are just as bad.

  • Cyndy S says

    Israel has a right to defend itself and its citizens. Be strong and courageous. Many in the US are with you in words, spirit, prayer.

  • Seyda Aylin says

    I believe that Israel had the right to investigate the ships and share the control of distribution of the aid with the organizations on the boats. However, what I don’t understand is that, according to the international law, as far as I know, they were supposed to wait until the ships are on their waters. Descending soldiers from helicopters in that manner, to me, seems like more pirating than starting a conversation. Again as far as I know, once the ships are on the Gaza waters, Israel was supposed to warn them and let them know of a possible attack if the ships do continue to advance. Why didn’t they wait? Why on international waters? Why sending soldiers in that manner to an obvious reaction? Also, I believe it is important to know who else, which organizations and what members of these organization were on the ships, aka the logs of all the ships should be made public. Given the fact that we don’t know all the “facts”, I’m afraid both sides will try to take advantage of this gap in receiving accurate information, and bombard us with provocative, half-told stories and statements, and eventually make it harder for us to see the truth, and see the big picture.

    S. Aylin Gurses

  • sherwin begoun says

    daniel..you were not present and i was not there…..however you can be assured that the american president WAS there by his on the spot …comments

  • Norman Elliott says

    The helicopter boarding was a hostile act. Everyone has a right to resist being taken over. They resisted. You used deadly force against unarmed civilians. God is great. Free Gaza.

  • A well written article. Associated Press should get ahold of this and publish it in every US newspaper. It’s about time we have a “balanced perspective” regarding this provoked event. Israel gave the ship plenty of warning and opportunity to redirect itself to Ashdod but the crew refused…there were known terrorist activists among those aid containers. israel attempted a dialogue not a confrontation!

  • I myself & my family & a great deal of my friends stand behind Israel,it’s not hard to see the assholes of the world are out to cause harm anyway they can,America needs to show more support, but with total racist conmen like Obama in power, it will be limited till we clean house & come back to our senses. Still, even though we are not Jews, we will always stand behind what is right. WE GOT YOUR BACK ISRAEL

  • Esther Lapian says

    I too felt an urgency in the need for an immediate response that I havent felt in a long time.
    I sent the following post to all my friends and colleagues on three continents.

    Dear Friend
    For the first time since the intifada in 2000, I cried when I saw the the news tonight. From the lynch in Ramallah, to the lynch on this boat. I am sending this to everyone I know outside of Israel just in case this footage will not be aired US, Canada, England, or Australia.
    I hope and pray that you will not be quiet, studied, careful and politically correct.
    ESther Lapian

    The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
    Shortcut to: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3896991,00.html

  • Benjamin Kagan says

    Howard Stevens pretends to be a friend of Israel just so that he can attack Israel’s absolutely proper defensive actions against Hamas(who, by their Charter and every Arabic pronouncement, are admitted proud Nazi Wannabes and as such, are the main surrogates for the Jihadist Muslim teaching that the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel and the murder of all its Jews is the Immutable Will of Allah which all true Muslims must therefore work towards).

    The killing of a major weapons supplier Hamas agent in Dubai obviously was “militarily”and legally justified under any “rational” interpretation of international law (by which law, Hamas is waging an “unlawful terrorist war” against a lawful nation). Had the killing failed it would have been bungled. Had there been no cameras,Israel’s anti-Semitic worldwide critics would still have [hypocritically] condemned Israel.

    It was the US which wrongfully (a good ally does not attack an ally by backing up their mutual enemies’ disputed claims) and erroneously (the new building was in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem) chastized Israel.Had Obama & Biden honored their promises to protect Israel, there could have been no provocation to America.

    Turkey, under its current pro Jihadist government is no longer Israel’s special friend. Hence Israel lost no special diplomatic points by boarding unlawful blockade runners whose only goal was to injure Israel in its lawful defensive war against Hamas in Gaza.

    The “madmen” in the Middle Eastern War against Israel is the Jihadist Muslim hegemony fronted by the Palestinians, who have been destroying the lives of their own people and of the Jewish and Arab Israelis for the sake of a false, blasphemous Jihadist Muslim teaching which is identical to the Nazi Final Solution for Israel and its Jews.


    Just as Howard provides no evidence whatsoever of “Israel’s profound criminal ineptitude”, his analyses contain no evidence whatsoever that he has any superior
    expertise in “intelligence work, international diplomacy and military affairs.” If he is sincere, he is at best a 21st century Neville Chamberlain duped by Hitler’s 21st century counterparts.

    So long as the Israeli government keeps following the proven superiority of Winston Churchill’s reasonable and realistic pre-WW II strategies and policies, Israel will not come crashing down and the unthinkable will not occur.

    It is also possible that Howard is not sincere, and is even using an alias.

  • Neal Gendler says

    The first part of your last paragraph says is all, Danny. I, too, am saddened at the injuries and deaths, and I know Israel will be beaten up badly because they occurred. But Israel was in a lose-lose situation, with a blockade to enforce and a victory for Arab propagandists even if the IDF and the purported peacenicks had served each other tea on the way to Ashdod.
    The CBS Evening News ran video that clearly showed soldiers being beaten with iron rods; it is sickening that humans can treat other humans so brutaly. But for once, Israel has some proof, and it was shown in time to do some damage control.
    Unlike your friend, I have no problem with Israel defending itself; I’m old and informed enough to know the reality Israel faces — I’ve been there to see it — and I can recall clearly the fear of May 1967, when Israel’s existence seemed in doubt.
    As the plethora of Shoah memorials demonstrates, the world loves Jews when we’re victims.
    Although it’d be wonderful if people felt differently about Jews, I believe it’s better to be alive but despised than dead and loved.
    I look forward to hearing you in Minnesota this month.

  • Vanessa says

    American Jews whose “peace values” are offended are illogical & brainwashed just as most of the leftist that always supports the enemy.
    Those Americans, Christian & Jew, who can think for themselves are outraged by any suggestion that Isreal was in anyway in the wrong!

  • StevePattaya says

    I gotta agree with Kenneth…if Israel was gonna do something like this, they should have boarded in broad daylight with guns brandished, forced everyone on their knees with their fingers interlaced behind their heads,restrained everyone, and towed them to Ashdod for processing. I would have been one of the voices who would have been critical, but at least no one would be dead.

  • One of the most disheartening things in this whole incident is the lack of solidarity among Jews worldwide. I suppose if you live in the U.S. you have yet to feel the pinch of antisemitism growing. Yet it is, everywhere, and eventually even there you’ll begin to feel it. Meanwhile for us who live in the land, and attempt to keep it holy, the pressure is always building. Howard (above) mentioned that the vessel was from Turkey, as if diplomatic relations with them was sacred or something. Get a clue – the vessel where our soldiers were attached was from Turkey, read the news, understand the politics of each day as it changes. Turkey is not Israel’s friend and ally any longer.. Neither is the U.S. If we don’t stand for ourselves no-one else will! Israel cannot afford to cater to the world’s opinion, because the world really doesn’t care about us. We stand or fall alone – where will you be?!

  • Sarah Entwistle says

    Thank you Daniel Gordis for your arguments. I wholeheartedly agree.
    I had not read or heard reports of the incident in detail, but just reading headlines about this flotilla event at National Review Online told me this event could become another international rallying cry to “kill them all!” International condemnation of Israel’s right to defend herself. The internet ablaze with armchair quarterbacking about Israeli governmental and military leadership. President Obama’s pontifications over Israel…

    Today in the United States is Memorial Day, our day to remember and honor those who gave all for their country, and to honor our military for being willing to serve their country, my country, whatever the cost. How am I, an average American citizen, supposed to know the details surrounding all our military is dealing with today, tomorrow, last week? I come from a military family, so I know some of the cost to defend freedom and the lives of citizens. But I don’t know all. Even if I had access to all the news wires available, and the online information and personal testimony from friends or family, how could I know it all? I cannot. But I can do what is right today, and respect those who in some way protect my life. I don’t always agree, but I can respect and honor.

    We, as Americans, must stand with Israel. We must choose to honor and respect those in the Middle East who add strength and value to our nation. From my point of view, that means honoring and respecting Israel as a nation – its people, its government, and its military. Maybe not always agree, but how can we know all of the details of what is going on in Israel to then make a decision or judgment we will approve or disapprove of something Israel did or didn’t do? We cannot.

    Israel is our ally. Israel is our help many, many times. And Israel is a nation of people, just like any other nation, except Israel has an inherent value system that believes life is worth defending, that people are worth the cost of freedom. If the world loses Israel, the world will lose more than its millions of citizens. The world would lose a nation of hope, and life and humanity.
    And I am grateful for those, like Daniel Gordis, who write and print the [unpopular] truth in a world of brazen deception and destruction. Carry on, Mr. Gordis!

  • Matti Horten says

    I have some really mixed thoughts about the stuff that happend. On the one hand I can see that the people on the boat provoked this violent outcome. But on the other hand I have this question I keep asking myself and can’t figure it out myself: Why did the soldiers land on the boat, why didn’t they immobilize the boats like they did before?

  • Robert F. says


    When I read today on my Blackberry the news of the Gaza flotilla, my first thought (okay, not my first thought, but an early one) was “what will Daniel Gordis say?”

    Obviously, I didn’t have long to wait for the answer. It disappointed, if it did not surprise me.

    To be horrified by the commando raid on the IHH flotilla is neither to be supportive of Hamas, a pacifist, anti-IDF, an IHH stooge, nor, for the love of G-d, tepid about Israel’s right to exist.

    This was a catastrophe on every count: worse than a crime, a blunder. Poking a stick in the eye of our most important Muslim ally. Inflaming world opinion against Israel at a time when Iran has enough nuclear fuel for two weapons. But also, in technical terms, a crime as well. I do not know if the reports that the ship was in international waters were correct, but I haven’t heard them contradicted. In the era of cell phone cameras and YouTube, to attack a ship in international waters is bad judgment just this side of treason.

    The Jerusalem Post made an important point: although the Israeli government had been describing the flotilla as pro-terrorist, why did it board the ship with only the preparation to subdue peaceniks? Doesn’t that suggest that a) the authorities did not actually believe what they were telling the world, and b) that Israel’s intelligence (in both senses of the word) is shockingly inadequate?

    Finally, who’s minding the store? When the new building in East Jerusalem was announced to coincide with Vice President Biden’s visit to Israel, my sources assured me that Netanyahu had nothing to do with it and did not know about it in advance. Now this happens while Netanyahu is in Washington. Did the Prime Minister have no advance knowledge of this decision also? I cannot begin to read the politics of this episode.

    More to the point of your columns: I am concerned about the tone you are taking in the most recent two. Those of us in America who to not offer kneejerk support to everything and anything Israel does—who make Israel their religion, in effect–do not take kindly to being hectored, especially from such a thoughtful and ethical voice. What I have never seen in your posts before is a—there’s no other way to say it—a whining tone. Perhaps I am completely off base, but I think it is important that you understand how you come across to some of us here. A little respect, please.

  • Akiva T says

    The Israeli government acted 100% wrong.

    It would have been much better to make a small hole in the hull of each ship, and let them beg to be rescued from life boats.

    Soldiers would not be in harm’s way, and the financial burden of losing the vessels would have slowed down these ‘peace’ activists for a while.

  • Ben Dor A. says
  • Ronald Remba says

    Yes I do.
    No matter what.

  • Sam says

    My advice for next time. Destroy the propellors and immobilize the ships

  • Kevin says

    Interesting that 78% of 42,000 voters @ http://www.aljazeera.com believe Israel is justified continuing its blockade of Gaza –
    Is Israel justified in its continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip?

  • Jeffrey Rabin says


    Tonight I had dinner with some friends, and they invited a retired banker from Israel who was in Los Angeles visiting his friend.

    I said how concerned I am that this botched operation will create many more serious problems. I said that Israel is already under attack by the BDS movement, and this will make things even worse. I said that I fear this will be a “Katrina” moment for Netanyahu (who I actually like quite a bit and I think does as good a job as possible under extremely difficult conditions, though he’s not perfect).

    I was astonished that this Israeli gentleman basically just shrugged. He said that in two weeks, it will all blow over.

    I also asked him about the Holyland scandal and whether it’s possible to be an honest businessman in Israel. He shrugged at that, saying that the problem was that the participants in Holyland were too greedy; it wouldn’t have been a big deal if they had just asked for 10% more units, rather than 1000% more units. I said that I’m concerned that they system compels a person to be corrupt. He said that either you pay bribes, or you’re a freyer, and never get anywhere.

    I am concerned that these things are related in the following way: the Israelis generally just don’t “get it.” The BDS movement is dangerous for Israel; the botched flotilla operation (and it was botched; they should have had a better plan) cannot be dismissed with a shrug. Nor can corruption. I fear that Israelis just dismiss too much with a shrug, instead of recognizing dangerous situations. And, if they don’t see the dangers from BDS, corruption, or a host of other problems, then one day one of these threats will overwhelm the country.

    I’m concerned that his attitude is symptomatic of

  • Moshe Pipick says

    Who ever did the planning didn’t think. First, you let hem get into your teritorial waters, not international waters. Can I say smuck on line? If they didn’t heave to and you see the deck full of angery people. With a bull horn you tell them to lay down. They don’t lay down, drop pepper spray on them. Then you have your commando’s repel down. Who in the F repels down in the arms of people bearing arms?

  • Susan Freiman says

    There was no excuse to justify boarding the ship in international waters. That is piracy, and those on the ship were entitled to resist. We Israelis have again violated international law, as we also do in our occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

  • Mel Aranoff says

    First rate. I instantly forwarded this to as many people as I could while out of town. Danny, yasher koach for so quickly saying what needed to be said. Spot on.

  • Dan says

    This is called circling the wagons – and spinning the facts. The BBC played recording of a captain telling his passengers to stay in their cabins as the commandos were boarding using “live fire” and not paint guns. Please!!! 9 or 10 people didn’t die from paint guns or toys.

  • Victor M says

    An excellent day yesterday.
    Once again world….don’t mess with Israel or you will get more than you bargained for.
    Take note Iran and your fellow travellers.
    “Peace activists” – my ar*e.

  • David Willig says

    After 24 hours, I am worried. I think the Arabs have finally gotten around to reading Leon Uris’ Exodus. It is going to be a new, and even more dangerous game. Israel cannot afford to weaken.
    Point 1: No country would allow any boat to land without being inspected. To demand noninspection is ridiculously antisemitic.
    Point 2: If you want to play the humanitarian game, shut of ALL electricity pending the release of Schalit. Why are the “Humanitarians” not demanding his release?
    I am strongly behind Israel, but I am worried that it does not make the best case for itself.

  • just another jew says

    yes israels actions in the west bank are an abomination(the current cause) and the Iranian revenge for the Sha is the root of the confilct.

    i am ashamed to be associated with such an ill informed bunch of so called religious jews. we are 100% wrong in this and crying is not gonna fix it. war is not gonna fix it.achmadinjihad is not gonna fix it. leaving the palestiansians alone to live will eventually fix it ie get out the west bank.(the Iranian peace deal offered a couple of years ago explains all of this if america cared to read it)

    but i ask where is the profit in that?

  • Aharon Cassel says

    Excellent and timely piece that I am sending on to many people.

  • loolwa khazzoom says

    Bravo Daniel bravo. I have posted to Twitter n Facebook.

  • Joshua David says

    Its so absurd what is being aired on aljazeera english about Israel.
    all corespondents claiming that Israel is the aggressor, even when there is an interview with the officials form the Israeli side, they are cut short before they fully explain the other side of the story.
    There is no where in the world that i know of, where you enter a countries controlled airspace, water or land and fail to be thoroughly checked. Israel is right 100% to intercept those “goods” and make sure its borders are a safe place for the Israelis living there. SHALOM and we will continue to support your cause. SHALOM

  • JFM says

    A few points:

    1) The international waters lemma is ludicrous. This has never applied in a blockade. Be it during the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, or both World Wars belligerents have routinely inspected neutral vessels who looked to be heading to coasts under blockade. And they did it in their own territorial waters, in international waters and, provided, they were out of reach of coastal batteries, in ennemy waters. Guess what? It was all according to international law and this law hasn’t changed.

    2) Back Sudanese are being murdered by the thousands. Count at least 50 victims for one Palestinian victim. Then there are the rapes and enslavement. Unlike the Palestinians they haven’t tried to bomb maternities, unlike Palestinins they don’t offer their daughters in marriage to a man who has in cold blood crushed the skull of a 4 years old girl, unlike the Palestinians they aren’t planning a genocide (they have been well clear that they are goal is not merely destroying the state of Israel), unlike the Palestinians they are starving, unlike the Palestiniand the usla suspects aren’t helping them agsinst their ennemies, unlike the Palestinans there are no “humnitarian” expeditions to bring them aid. Why?

    3) At Rwanda’s border there are refugee camps where live Hutus implicated in the 1994 genocide. Like the Palestinians they plan second round of genocide and educate their children for that, like the Palestinians they launch murderous raids in Rwanda. So logically they should get the same degree of attention and the same amount of attention. Why is that Palestins get so much more? Wouldn’t it be because the “humanitarians” secretlay have the same goal as the Palestinians: end Hitler’s job?

  • Rabbi Leonard Levin says

    We cannot afford any longer to play the role of Rabbi Eliezer in the “Oven of Akhnai” story (Bava Metzia 59b). Morality is not determined only by the abstract divine heavenly mandate but also by the majority consensus here on earth, which we ignore at our peril. The loss of Turkey as an ally or neutral is a greater material threat to Israel than the presence of a few weapons in Gaza. If there is no derekh eretz, there is no Torah.

  • Josh Brewster says

    Happy to see that Israel took action. Maybe 8,000 missiles into the process they decided to fight back…too bad so many American Jews spend more time crying for Jihadists than supporting their fellow Jews.

  • I too live in Jerusalem. I have 2 sons serving in elite/commando units of the IDF. I’m appalled that people lost their lives. I am saddened that 2 young Israeli soldiers are in serious condition. I can’t understand how our leaders made such stupid decisions and it really worries me (since I live here). Not peace activists, Islamist activists and radical leftists w. a very different agenda and we fell right into the trap.
    There is a big difference between living in America and living in Israel (kind of like the difference between being a quarterback and an armchair one, the 2nd is easier) and that’s the challenge. I hope we can do better.
    About boarding a ship in Int’l water that is running a blockade read law expert Sabel of Hebrew U.

  • Laura says

    Excellent!! Very well written. You articulated what so many of us are thinking. Hopefully a few more people will ‘get it’ because of what you wrote.

  • Volker says

    Well done, rightly so, Israel, I salute you. Protect yourself, sometimes at heavy costs. You’ll be able to deal with the world-wide fall-out as usual. Next time on sea be better prepared, take the lessons from this one.

  • NAOMI says


  • Carole says

    The IDF gave them several warnings but they were determined to carry on to Gaza!
    The IDF were instructed not to shoot but as they were let down from the helicopters they were met with a baying crowd of activists who straightway attacked the soldiers with iron bars, knives etc and beat them to the ground in a ferocious fury.
    Some soldiers even had guns taken off them, in effect their lives were in danger, so they had to open fire! IT was self-defence.
    In the media it is portrayed that Israel was the aggressor which is totally untrue!
    The activists planned this showdown initially and I`m afraid the IDF fell into this trap and the world is quick to condemn without knowing the full facts!

  • randy says

    What is wrong with you people? Haven’t you read the papers recently? Turkey is not an ally…it has formed an alliance with Iran.Appeasement NEVER works. There is only ONE thing our enemies understand and that is MIGHT.Let us be united in our resolve.

  • I Sali says

    Some comments are great, some are not. When it comes to the appropriate way to deal with these difficult situations, I listen to those whose family’s are threatened. It is easy for a 20 something single to talk “big” or even act when they are the only one at stake. Bring a few kids into the situation and you look ath things in a whole different way. Israel has given every chance in the world to deliver humanitarian aid so if this was about humanitarian, it would have made it to the recipients.

    When people think ahead to the future for their children, they will look for a peaceful solution, when they look at revenge and hatred, they will only cause their children more pain, as evidenced by the last few generations in the Palestinian territories.

  • Meir Weingarten says

    Thanx for this

  • Jerry Burridge says

    the course of actions on the ship are questionable; yet the military might of those endorsing the murder of jews (which gets to the area via gaza is not questionable.) And which of those objecting to the action would consent to the arab supporters using military items to butcher their loved ones, whether their children, their parents, their spouse or their friends.
    theory is easy to object to; actual death of those firing guns, rockets is not theory.

  • TJ says

    I am amazed at those of you (especially those who are jewish) who choose to condemn Israel first before you know all the facts. Everyone knows whether acknowledged or not that the media always condemns and slanders Israel first. This does not change until Israel provides indisputable facts to the contrary but by then the media is no longer interested and does not report the facts. I am not even Jewish and I support Israel because I understand their plight. Where is your loyalty to your own people/blood? How sad…I am ashamed for you!

  • Carol says

    Its sad indeed that people had to die in this incident, however, i would like to understand the following;
    1. does any humanitarian organisation need 600 people to ferry food to any destination?

    2. if it had been the practice to search all vessels headed to Gaza by Israel (and everyone aware of it), what was the resistance for by the 6th ship?

    3.Arent there enough people living in Gaza,that the activists felt they needed to export more activists to Gaza for whatever reason?

    I think people should stop living in an imaginary world where everything is peaceful and sublime and wake up to the reality that every sovereign nation has a right to defend its self from aggression no matter where that aggression stems from.

  • Norman Elliott says

    The twisted sister of anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism is jumping with joy at their public relations coup. We have to make the world believe that we are really the victims here. The guileful organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla set a cunning trap for the most moral military forces the world has ever known. Our innocent young soldiers were only trying to help in the delivery of those humanitarian goods. They were carrying only toy guns when they were brutally attacked by the merciless terrorists on board the Freedom Flotilla ships.

  • Moti says

    Daniel you are right, but that’s where the problem is – as the old saying goes ‘Don’t be right, be smart’. This operation was a disaster, Israel once again played right into the hands of Hamas, and suffered another hugh PR blow. That’s the bottom line.

  • MILES K says



  • Laura says

    Israel was completely within the bounds of international law in boarding this ship – Sue Freiman and others, you must not be versed in international laws if you do not understand this.
    Individuals on this boat have ties to known terrorist organizations, and were prepared and ready to attack when boarded. Prior to leaving port they were shouting anti-Semitic slurs such as death to Jews.
    Many of you have bought into the powerful and well funded propaganda machine of the Arab/Iranian axis that feeds journalists a full serving of narrative blather that they readily serve back to you; you allow journalists to serve as judge and jury in enabling a lynch mob. Remember Muhammad Al Dura? Remember Tuvia Grossman? Get the real facts before you convict. Only the truth and standing up for what is right will enable peace.

  • Tova says

    I, like Robert F above, was not surprised to receive your communication in response to this tragic event. But, unlike for Robert F, your words did NOT disappoint; they soothed, invigorated and emboldened. Allow me to use this forum to say, SHAME ON YOU Robert F! You do NOT speak for all American Jews, and you–much like Daniel Gordis’ friend and, it seems, most of your friends–DON’T GET IT! Did you actually read the communication, or was your reaction “kneejerk” criticism of his support of Israel?

    Daniel, I always look forward to your words because you NEVER give Israel a “free ride” nor do you present Israel as “perfect”. Israel is not perfect–which country is?Anyone who is objective must view Israel as the amazing country that it is. Anyone who understands history will see that Israel MUST exist–the fate of all of world Jewry depends on that outcome.

    Your words are not now nor have they ever been delivered in “a whining tone” (quoting Robert F above). They are the cogent words of a brave and fair individual who argues in defense of a country fighting for its survival.

    Please keep “talking to us” because yours is the voice of reason that must be heard world-wide. “Keep talking” TO Israel because the voice of reason must also be heard within.

    B’shalom lecha v’shalom al kol Israel.


  • Den Leventhal says

    I am grateful to the Turkish people because they have been a welcoming refuge for the Jewish people, both during the period of the Khazar Empire in the 7th thru 10th centuries, and that of the Ottoman’s in the 16th & 17th centuries. But THIS is a different time and a different situation. Israel’s declared blockade is legal under international law, and necessary under the current circumstances of rabid Jew-hatred being promoted in every way throughout the Muslim world. For the next ships that try to run the blockade, I recommend sending torpedos, instead of commandos.

  • Jack Arcenaux says

    Dan, oh please, shut the f. up!

  • Cindy Shulkin says

    Thank you. Eloquent and timely.

  • I was completely heartsick when I heard & read about this. I love Israel, but I do not always agree with their politics or their over zealous ulta-orthodox. This will not blow over, as one of the comments noted. This is an all-too common situation with Israel having to defend its actions to the entire world when the world has already made up its mind that Israel is in the wrong.

    The news said the ships were in Internatinal waters and thus Israel had no rights there. Trojan horses again. Wrong military tactics. Hatred flying everywhere. Will we ever wake up to a day when Israel does not have to stand up and defend its right to exist?

  • Laura says

    Dear Robert F.,
    In saying “Poking a stick in the eye of our most important Muslim ally” is firstly to show that you do not realize what has been happening in Turkey over the past several months (meetings with Assad and the Iranians as well as increasingly inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Semitic commentary from official government channels) as well as showing that you would not care to find out who is actually on those vessels before you want to slam Israel and find out what the facts may actually be. You assume that because someone says “humanitarian aid” it is, and that if the label “peace activist” is applied it is true. The individuals on this ship have known ties to terrorist organizations, and were shown on Al-Jazeera shouting anti-Semitic slurs and Martyrs cries prior to setting sail. The intention of these people is clear; violence.
    As to the building in East Jerusalem, perhaps you are unaware that it is not ‘Juden Frei’. There are over 250,000 Jews who live there, and they have expanding housing needs just like any community. It was a routine building endeavor, and the fact that the current US administration did not exhibit full comprehension of the situation just shows they need to be more fully educated and informed.
    The American Jewish community does not like to have to ‘deal with’ the issues around Israel and think that perhaps bully appeasement would make it go away. I realize it is an immense inconvenience to have to explain these complex situations to others and it takes time. Yet if the American Jewish community would take the time to educate themselves and not jump to conclusions based on biased journalism and propaganda, and understand that this ‘immense inconvenience’ of Israel is not only a part of our heritage, but more importantly, that treating Israel fairly is key to ensuring a just world for everyone, then together we could be a ‘light onto the nations’ that would enable the world to be a better place. Israel is the tiniest of nations and the Jewish people are one of the smallest minorities in the world. It is imperative that this smallest of minorities be treated justly, to protect and honor the diversity of the world and to give others hope. Propaganda almost wiped us out before, we cannot let it happen again, it is not only for us, but also for everyone else.

    An addendum to my comment to Sue Freiman on the status of the ship boarding:

    1. A maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. Such blockade has been imposed, as Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza, which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza via the sea.

    2. Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law that may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea. (Examples: USA blockaded Cuba, UK blockaded The Falklands, the EU blockaded Yugoslavia)

    3.A blockade may be imposed at sea, including in international waters, so long as it does not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral States.

    4. The naval manuals of several western countries, including the US and England recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure and set forth the various criteria that make a blockade valid, including the requirement of give due notice of the existence of the blockade.

    5. In this vein, it should be noted that Israel publicized the existence of the blockade and the precise coordinates of such by means of the accepted international professional maritime channels. Israel also provided appropriate notification to the affected governments and to the organizers of the Gaza protest flotilla. Moreover, in real time, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect.

    6.Here, it should be noted that under customary law, knowledge of the blockade may be presumed once a blockade has been declared and appropriate notification has been granted, as above.

    7. Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no boats can enter the blockaded area. That includes both civilian and enemy vessels.

    8. A State may take action to enforce a blockade. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked under international law. The US Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations sets forth that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time the vessel leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

    9. Here we should note that the protesters indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade by means of written and oral statements. Moreover, the route of these vessels indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade in violation of international law.

    10. Given the protesters explicit intention to violate the naval blockade, Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade. It should be noted that prior to undertaking enforcement measures, explicit warnings were relayed directly to the captains of the vessels, expressing Israel’s intent to exercise its right to enforce the blockade.

    11. Israel had attempted to take control of the vessels participating in the flotilla by peaceful means and in an orderly fashion in order to enforce the blockade. Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, an operational decision was made to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.

    12. Israeli personnel attempting to enforce the blockade were met with violence by the protesters and acted in self defense to fend off such attacks.


  • Stephen T says

    Hi Daniel,
    You are right to speak up. Israel is always made to look like the bad guy. Why are these humanitarian groups not helping the starving in Sudan or Ethopia or Zimbabwe? Obviously they want to make Israel look bad by inciting violence! Sick people!

  • bill aberman says

    Why doesn’t Israel tell the press FIRST in its briefings that the ships carried WEAPONS not just “supplies” for the people in Gaza to use against Israel! And then go on to tell how much food and supplies Israel has itself, sent into Gaza!!!

  • Mitchell L. Lathrop says

    Did the so-called “peace activists” really believe Israel was going to let them simply sail through a naval blockade? Are they complete fools? This was nothing more than a deliberate provacation for political and public relations purposes. The international media and the U.N. have ignored counter-demonstrations and the fact that Israel offered to let the goods go through to Gaza if they could be inspected first to insure that arms and explosives weren’t in the cargo. The Israelis are presently sending the goods to Gaza. The world should wake up to the tactics of Israel’s enemies.

  • Jessica says

    I will send this message around with pride.

  • Ralph S says

    You make excellent points, but I think that your reader who thinks that Israel poked a stick in the eye of an ally, does not realize that Turkey intentionally made this provocation and that Isreal has been trying to stop it through diplomatic channels. To no avail. Perhaps this was an effort by the newly elected muslim government to create the popular support necessary to break long standing military ties between the two countries.

  • Robert P says

    What Israel needs to do is hire a PR agency. Maybe Donnie Deutsche.

    Israel gets condemned for doing things that other nations get away with. I’m not saying that they were wrong or right on this particular issue, all the facts are not known.

    However, their approach with the media needs to be improved greatly. There is a lot of good that Israel does that they do not explain to the media. When the prime Minister snubs the President, it needs to be properly spinned.

    Spin control is crucial to Israel.

  • Max Roytenberg says

    You are right on. We Jews are the first to bend over backwards to try to find an accomodating solution. THERE IS NO ACCOMODATING THOSE WHO WISH OUR DESTRUCTION EXCEPT BY OUR SUICIDE. I Opt for Survival! We should not go quietly as some of our own are advocating GOD BLESS ISRAEL! AM YISROEL CHAI.

    That Israeli is right, it will blow over!Our enemies will try to keep the story going, but if it wasn’t this it would be something else. They don’t need a reason

  • Robert F. says

    Hello, Laura 4:07 PM,

    I do indeed realize what has been happening in Turkey over the last several months. It is very likely that what Israel did yesterday will push Turkey—once a militantly secular democracy– into the Islamist camp. I think the likelihood of that now is close to 80% Congratulations.

    If you read my post carefully, you would see that I did *not* say that I believed the people on the boat were “peace activists.” Rather, I said that the IDF boarded the ship exactly as if THEY believed that they were “peace activists.” I think they did—that is the only plausible explanation for the inadequate and inappropriately outfitted force.

    As for East Jerusalem, your response is a perfect example—perfect—of the problem I am discussing: the utter inability of the Israeli government (and many of its citizens and supporters) to take into consideration the sensibilities of others, particularly their allies. Grant that East Jerusalem has Jews, has every right to expand, etc.—you make a public decision like this while the Vice President of the United States is a guest in your house? This is not something to do to your worst enemy, let alone your best friend. “The current US administration…need to be more fully educated and informed”—with “educated and informed” a euphemism for “embarrassed and humiliated.”

    I’m going to refrain from discussing your “light unto the nations” paragraph. You see, I do have a sense of rachmones.

    Finally, you write, absolutely correctly, “Propaganda almost wiped us out before, we cannot let it happen again…” Allow me to quote “Zach” from the comments section of the Jerusalem Post: “There is a war, it’s a public relations war and Israel is losing. There are many ways to disable a boat without putting Israeli soldiers at risk and handing the enemy a public relations coup on a silver platter … I just don’t understand why we chose to drop down on a bed of murderers by the most vulnerable possible way – did we think that they were going to have a Bar Mitzvah waiting for us?”

    You know what my beef is with Israelis? They have experienced so many miracles in their short history that they take them for granted, and expect them as their right. As Rabbi Goldfarb of Cornell once told me, “You can’t always rely on miracles. Sometimes you’ve got to try prayer.” Self-reflection wouldn’t hurt either.


    Robert F.

  • Farrell Segall says

    The truth will eventually come out but seldom is newsworthy.
    If the ‘supplies’ and intent of the persons on these vessels were truly humanitarian then why protest any investigation and let the whole world see them.

  • Gil Ben-David says

    Dear Daniel,

    Well written response, I would have added qestions like:

    What would have haapened if a ship was on the way to the Hudson River in New York, trying to bring food to Pier 13 in New York,
    or at the same token a ship was going into the cost of Iran…would have been blasted by a nueclear misiale…

    Unfortunatley the world likes to pick on Isreal, 500 pepole were killed around the world in the last three weeks or so,the Would say nothing,…. but G-D forbid, a ship must get to Gaza….

    The closer on Gaza must continue, Egypt must carry the brunt of the support to Gaza

  • Davidmarc says

    There is no condemnation of Israel in the statement below. There is a disagreement with policies that leads to alienation–just like George Bush’s policies–the point is that this is not the road to peace….if peace is still what Israelis and Jews the world over want. Let us all strive for the day when swords (on both sides) shall be beaten into plowshares and Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Is this the way?

    Hey Danny….yet again a misguided Israeli political and military mission with regard to Gaza that American Jewry will be asked to stand by and support. All over the news Israel will be referred to as “the Jewish State” as worldwide condemnation will pour in. As a Jew I will be on the defensive despite the fact that I have no vote and no say in whatever the politicians in Israel decide. Again, you will no doubt ask for solidarity by Jewish folk worldwide and we will answer for Israeli decision-making. I love Israel as my religious base, but the policies do not reflect my peace loving values. I support Israel with bonds and donations and visits, but the thriving American Jewish experience is independent of it.

  • Marc Freimuth says

    Dr. Gordis – I am sure you know there are American Jews who feel as you do, and who understand the history and even the current raging anti-semitism. And we thank you for your comments. It’s the Jews who don’t understand that we don’t understand.

  • Menachem P says

    It now appears that there was a group of 50-100 Al-Qaeda mercenaries on board from Yemen, Turkey and Indonesia whose mission was to attack the Israeli boarding party with cold weapons forcing the Israelis to open fire to save themselves. They wanted to have the Israelis kill as many people aboard that boat as possible.

    The real dupes in this story were the pro-palestinian eurpeans and americans who were to be the canon fodder in Hamas;s and the word wide islamist movement’s design to stop the blockade.

  • Eiran says

    Thanks Dani for this. As an Israeli in the US I needed help in finding a coherent response to the insanity of the day. This is all part of the attempt to dejustify Israels very existence as a Jewish State, carefully orchestrated by Turkey and has nothing to do with any concern about the poor Palestinians in Gaza – who had it so much better when Israel actually occupied the area. And where is Egypt in all this? No wonder Sadat refused to take back Gaza.

  • Rasjie says

    Kol Hakavod! Excellent reply.
    Whatever we do or not do here in Israel we are always the bad guys. It will never end and we do have to defend ourselves so that your American friend can come to this country he feels so strongly about.

  • Lisa says

    Thank-you Daniel for being bold in the intent on telling the truth. There is alot of debate regarding the methods Israel used to defend their rights; and in every debate there are always some measure of truth on every side.

    No, Israel is not perfect – but what country is? Maybe they could have done things differently but think about how many things that they have to consider and how many decisions they have to make in the course of the day -defending their right to exist’.

    The bigger picture here is that there are an overwhelming amount of organizations and people who are dedicated to wiping Israel (and Jews)off the face of the earth – and that is a very scary fact!

    Maybe instead of arguing points no matter how valid the point may be, we should ban together and support Israel by encouraging and validating those who have to lay down their lives everyday so that they can exist!

    Let’s not give the enemy any more fuel to add to the fire that they are stirring up by turning a blind eye to a situation that can and does effect every person on the planet.

  • Edward says

    To the “old friend” of Daniel Gordis:
    Your “thriving American Jewish experience” would never exist if State of Israel was not restored in 1948 and it will come to very unpleasant end if G-d forbid something terrible should happen to Israel. Your donations, bonds purchases and visits mean nothing. You can’t buy clean conscience.
    All history lessons are lost on you. Do you think there was not “thriving German Jewish experience” or “thriving Polish Jewish experience” or Spanish, or French, or Russian ? They all ended in “Aushvitz/Treblinka/Babi Yar Jewish experience” because there was no State of Israel and because Jews like you who owned and operated NY Times and similar publications didn’t want to disturb their “thriving American Jewish experience” at the cost of fighting for lives of their European brethren. Shame on you.

  • Carmel says

    Thank you for this well written piece. I live in NZ and we have very anti-Israeli news here and last night was just terrible. If not for people like you the other side of the story would never be told.

  • DanielH says

    Oh, I’ve been enjoying the article so much… But something had to go a little too far in the paranoia deparment.

    “You think that New Zealand just coincidentally decided this week to make kosher slaughtering illegal?”

    Uhhh… Ya?

    That policy is not meant to specifically bar Jews from kosher slaughter. In fact, Jews will have no problem importing their meat from australia. This ban is only an extension of the law; it states that animals must be stunned before they are slaughtered. Unfortunately that isn’t an option according to Halacha.

    The Jewish community seems set to apply for an exception to the law. New Zealand joins four other countries in enacting this law (I think Sweden and Ireland are two of those four…). This insinuation of anti semitism against a country enacting a straightforward law for ethical treatment of animals is unwarranted. It’s plain old Jewish paranoia, and I’ll have none of it. It’s a victim mentality, used to exaggerate the challenges we, as a people, face.

  • SGB says

    I couldn’t agree more with Daniel Gordis. This mission was an obvious propaganda ploy to embarrass Israel. Hamas fighters and politicians are not exactly a peace loving group. They are engaged in a war with Israel and their stated goal is an Islamic state. If they could, they would destroy all of Israel. Many countries have engaged in blockades to defend their interests including the US and the British. Further, most news organizations never really go further back in history than a few days. They are content to parrot the latest propaganda about the “illegal” occupation rather than look up the clear history of cease fires and Arab invasisions. The only mistake Israel made in this operation was to go in expecting little resistance. Most countries engaging in a blockade would simply have sunk the boats. Further, Israel is allowing the aid to pass into Gaza. I don’t recall the combatants in WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, etc ever being that nice. In 1940 the British sank the whole French fleet in the harbor of Mers el Kabir, Algeria causing more than 1,000 French sailors to die. They were not officially at war with each other. Where is the outrage?? The Japanese blockaded China, the US blockaded Japan. The British attempted to starve Germany with a naval blockade in WWI. Israel does not have to apologize to anyone for fighting for its survival.

  • Judi Stansky says

    I can’t understand how anyone can consider Israel as a spiritual base, yet be unable to see that the state’s security as vital to the possibility of having that choice. This attack, for attack it was, was scripted to allow Israel’s enemies to howl their protest, aided by those who remain silent. I wonder how the Cubans would greet a peace mission from Miami? Help from Seoul activists in Pyongyang? Our DEA coming to assist Vancouver in cleaning up their drug problems? Every country has the right to defend its borders and protect its security. Since when has “peace-loving” precluded these actions. Wishing for peace? Good luck.

  • Oraneem says

    Rabbi Gordis — Yes, it is a yom kasheh. However, the divisiveness with which you respond to your friend is shocking. You say there are those who get “it” (you, Israelis who agree with you, the foreign ministry and hasbara adherents) and those who don’t get “it” (your American friend David, and by extension this American David, many supporters of Israel in America, and no doubt what will end up being many of your fellow Israelis).

    How exactly can you twist this failed “commando” operation that resulted in these deaths and injuries into an illustration of Israel’s battle to prove it has a right to exist? And even if this existential battle needs to be fought (sorry to those who disagree, but Israel does exist, and exists legitimately), how can you successfully fight a “conversation” about legitimacy with guns?

    Is it necessary to divide us as you do? The isolation you feel Israel is experiencing will certainly escalate if you cut out those who you think don’t get “it”. Your arrogant statement will also certainly not help: “…as we look out at Jews across the world, we’re just assessing who gets Jewish history, and who’s so thoroughly intellectually assimilated that they’re actually embarrassed that Jews don’t have to continue to be victims.”

    You and your fellow Israelis are courageous by living in Israel and sacrificing your children to the armed services, where their lives are risked ostensibly to protect the best interests of Israel and all Israelis. This does not mean that every operation and situation in which the IDF and government brass put your children is equal. Even with all the evils that belong to the hands of Hamas and those who support them, I believe what happened on the sea could and should have been avoided. I admit, I just don’t get it.

  • Dan says

    I think we have to ask ourselves if Zionism requires confirmation that “everyone hates us?” Is it easier to do anything, to have free reign if you think of yourself as the despised, outsider, and victim.

    Israel’s leaders knew that the flotilla did not offer any real threat to Israel but if you are occupying and containing a million and a half residents of Gaza the residents might do anything to get out from the occupation – even vote in the less favored Hamas and wait impatiently on the shore dreaming of the time they can leave the open air prison that is Gaza… just remember that 90% of Gazan famalies came from within Israel and many still have their keys and deeds. How bitter sweet is that – and how we can only wonder how deep does the feeling of guilt reside?

  • Michael says

    I think you wrote a great response. One main problem:If the boat was still in international waters, Israel had no right to board the ship. Why couldn’t they wait until the ship was in Israel waters instead of violating one more UN resolution. The outcome may not have been different, but then the attack of passengers could have been viewed as an act of aggression–instead, by boarding a ship in international waters the Israelis are immediately perceived as the aggressors – rightly so. Unbelievablly poor tactical decision– a major blunder — And knowing this was all a potential outcome, couldn’t they have used some high-resolution recording devices to show the world what really happened!? !?!?

  • David Roytenberg says

    Hey Dan,

    Well said. The fact that much of the world does not get this is of great concern to me. Most people seem almost to want to be fooled.

    Thanks for posting it. It needs to be said over and over again.


  • Norm Levin says

    Imagine you’re on an Israeli humanitarian aid ship on its way to, say Haiti, when an armed gang attacks it from helicopters in the middle of the night. What would you do? Fight to protect yourself and your fellow passengers, or roll over meekly to see what they were up to. Of course, you might die either way.

    Israel was completely outsmarted by Hamas and its Turkish allies. Worse, they won not only this “battle” but the much more significant war of public opinion. I just hope that Jews and Jewish institutions aren’t on the receiving end of more hateful “retaliatory” attacks. As Gordis well understands, anti-semitism is like a gasoline spill waiting to ignite. Most tragically, this time it was the Israeli government that provided the matches. Ending the siege may be the least onerous of the few remaining options to avert further bloodshed. That’s assuming that the current Israeli government even wants peace.

  • Ari says

    Thank you and well written.

    Question – If all of these hundreds of “activists” were so concerned about the well-being of their brethren in Gaza, why have they not staged protests to have Hamas return Gilad Shalit to his family where he belongs so we could at least begin the lifting of the blockade?

  • Robert F. says


    I think the most revealing sentence in your post is this one: “I jump to conclusions very different than those of my high school friend.”

    Why is it a good idea to jump to conclusions at all?

  • Cathy Morris Alterman says

    I believe our host used the phrase “jump to conclusions”, offhandedly. The implication is that under the present circumstances, it only makes sense that we would jump to the conclusion that these people mean no good by Israel, and in the highest likelihood, mean harm; therefore, as day follows night, Israel should jump to defend itself. How many cheeks should the Israeli’s turn before they react instinctually to block the blow?

  • jane elisofon says

    Dear Daniel,
    I like your response. My take on this is that the government of Turkey is not really a friend to Israel as they were under the prior government in Turkey. I think that they are happy to have had the provocation to defend the policy they really want in relation to Israel. My mother lived through the programs in Russian in the early 1900s, so I get it! Jews are judged by a different standard than the rest of the world and many American Jews understand this. We stand united with you even if there are times that we disagree with how a particular event was handled. I do not believe that this event was handled incorrectly. The ships came looking to provoke a fight. I weep for Israel, but could not be more proud of it.
    Jane Elisofon

  • Boris says

    The terrorists should be destroyed -on the sea, on the land or in the air. Israeli Navi had every right and duty to destroy the terrorists masked under “peaceful mission”

  • L Reich says

    I love all these sactimonious characters who condemn Israel for trying to make sure that all this “humanitarian” aid doesn’t include some definitely non-humanitarian stuff, such as weapons. Turkey, in case you’ve not noticed, has an Islamist government that’s been looking to worm its way into the European Union and still keep its base of support in the countryside – where, even this year, young girls – in their early teens – have been stoned to death for refusing arranged marriages. Watch the craven European ‘liberals’ fall for the same old ‘blame Israel, and for that matter Jews in general’ trick again and again. Sickening, isn’t it?
    Israel is the only country I know that gets condemned for refusing to commit national suicide – while a number of European nations seem eager to do just that by bending over backwards in the face of Muslim extremism. 1940 with a crescent instead of a swastika.

  • Sofia says

    I strongly agree.

  • ksmiami says

    As an American who has staunchly defended Israel, Netanyahoo has made it very difficult to continue to support Israel’s bullying posture. The balance of power in the relationship is still tilted west. The US has our men and women all over the Middle East in harm’s way and Israeli provocations and over-reactions, or badly planned shows of might ARE becoming harmful to our interests. As you chortle among yourselves that might makes right, public opinion in many formerly supportive avenues of the USA is turning against your country. No one tolerates a bully for long.

  • Robert F. says

    Elegantly phrased, Cathy. But you have reinforced my point. Jumping to conclusions, and acting “instinctually,” are reactive and non-rational approaches, the lazy responses of an individual or nation that is too confident in its own power. Israel in earlier days (before the first Lebanon war?)set the standard of carefully planned and executed actions, based on impeccable and comprehensive intelligence, that kept its foes off balance. “Reacting” is playing into the hands of the enemy. A nation that faces as much real danger as Israel does must follow the strategic approach of Col. Boyd: observe, orient, decide, act. You will not convince me that lashing out in anger is in the interests of Israel’s long-term survival.

    Boyd’s OODA loop is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

  • Rabbi Tony Jutner says

    I am in agreement with your friend Danny.The attack on a peaceful convoy is nothing less than a massacre. If you are a progressive, you will leave Israel and join the BDS movemenet asap

  • Kevin says

    Rabbi Tony – define “attack”, then define it for me in international waters. Then consider what constitutes a “peaceful convoy”? We should all try using language with some consistency to a benchmark in order to avoid the massive inconsistency that arises from linguistic expression of emotion…

  • Mjaum says

    The Israeli blockade is not legal, has never been legal, and will never be legal.

    For the blockade to be legal, Israel must have belligerent status. For this status to accrue, the opposing party must also have belligerent status, and be acknowledged to have it by Israel. Such an acknowledgement of Hamas would mean that Israel acknowledges Hamas as a legitimate government and their controlled territory as a legitimate state.

    This, obviously, Israel has never done and will never do. And so, Israel does not have belligerent status and the blockade is not legal, and neither are, or can be, any of the actions taken in upholding the blockade.

    It is also pertinent to note that *if* the blockade should be legal, then so would ferrying, selling or otherwise supplying weapons to Hamas.

    International law is based on reciprocity. If you claim to have a right, then you must also accept that your opponent has the exact same right. This, too, Israel has never done, and almost certainly, will never do.

  • Pesach Block says

    I find myself disturbed not by what happened as much as that the world continues to immediately condemn Israel. They are blind to the atrocities that exist in the world being done to others, as well as to Jews.
    Clearly the loss of life is a tragedy, but as you rightly point out, we didn’t provoke this. All they were trying to do was to make sure no arms went into Gaza. Why is Israel not allowed to defend its shores? We must subject ourselves to security evaluations and pat downs every time we go to an airport? Maybe we should defy the TSA and walk through the security gates? Would anyone defend the person rushing through the gate or the actions taken by the TSA?
    Interestingly, no one that I am aware of has ever openly condemned the ARAB world for this objectionable change in our world. I think in the name of being politically correct and maybe even fear, we say nothing but simply go along as sheep. Oil is more valuable than blood, especially Jewish blood.
    I really believe and may never really know the truth, that Iran is behind all this. They have again been able to redirect the worlds attention from their pursuit of evil to the condemnation of Israel.

  • beninabox says

    This whole “jumping to conclusions” is in the context of the article. “I don’t think we have the luxury of writing a column over days, printing it out and editing it, sleeping on it and editing it again. Too much is happening, and people are too hurting and too confused for something not to be said.”

    Basically, there is not enough information out there to make a reasoned judgment based on real facts. So by definition, any conclusion at this stage is a ‘jump to a conclusion’. The question is which way does your compass point by default?

  • Steven R Feldmann, MD,PhD says

    I had been taught that Jews had lived in Palestine for centuries and that this continuous tie gave us Jews a right to “redeem” our homeland. Now, the presence of those Jews — surrounded for centuries by tens and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs (mostly Muslim, but some Christian) — made me realize that Arabs never intended to slaughter Jews or throw them into the sea. If the Quran taught hatred of Jews, Muslims could have cleansed Palestine of Jews long ago. Instead, Muslims, Christians and Jews had lived peacefully together, documented by Morris who found that in the 27 years ending in 1908 only 13 Jews had been killed by Arabs and of those all but 4 were killed in the course of robberies or other crimes. Only after the European Jews began coming to Palestine with the intent to displace the local population did the violence take off.

    Gandhi Chastises Zionists

    Some think the conflict between Jews and Arabs didn’t start until the war of 1948, but already in the 1930s Gandhi chastised the Zionist effort to displace Palestinians through violent means. “My sympathies are all with the Jews,” Gandhi said. “They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close.” Yet Gandhi went on to say, “I have no doubt that they [the Jews] are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb.”

    If it was wrong for the Jews to have displaced hundreds of thousands of Muslim (and Christian) Arabs from their homes, villages and lives in 1948, the rest of the history of the conflict looks very different. We used to blame Arab countries for the refugee problem; to do so seems the height of chutzpah knowing that the Haganah created the refugee problem by expelling entire villages of Palestinians. America has continuously supported Israel, providing the planes and bombs that kill Palestinian children. If we thought Iran was evil for giving Hamas rockets that scared people but killed few, then it must look quite horrible to Muslims that we Americans have been giving Israel the material and diplomatic support to kill a hundred fold more people, people who had been violently expelled from their homes and left blockaded in refugee camps. All Jews felt the pain and horror of just one of our soldiers being killed or taken hostage; knowing our own pain should have told us the pain the Muslims felt when thousands of Arab people were taken prisoner or killed.

    Violence Engenders Violence

    Though we are good in our hearts, acting to achieve peace, our violent acts engender more violence and hatred. If we could kill so many people and still be good, surely the “terrorists” who kill far fewer people aren’t necessarily evil either. One of my Israeli colleagues told me he had Arab friends who had radical ideas, like “we don’t hate the Jews or want to kill them. We just want our land back.” That didn’t sound so radical in light of how the Jews had made Palestinians refugees. I asked Palestinians, other Arabs and other Muslims wherever I went what they thought of Jews and the conflict. It was clear these Muslims were peaceful people, just like us. The Muslims never built gas chambers to kill Jews like the Christians of Europe had. Jews had lived alongside Muslims in relative peace for centuries, being treated far better than the U.S. treated African Americans in the same era. Even today, many thousands of Jews live in Iran, and there are no gas chambers there. Iranians I have spoken to speak with pride of their relationship with Iranian Jews.

    On my last visit to Israel, less than a year ago, I visited an old family friend who had come to Israel from Germany in the 1930s. She lived in Jerusalem and her son grew up there. She was cultured — as I imagine was typical of German Jews. Her home was a veritable library. She had served as a secretary, helping catalog the letters of Chaim Weizmann, a founder of the Israeli state. As we sat in her living room, surrounded by her books, she showed my wife and me a picture of her son as a young boy, sitting on the burro of an older boy. The other boy was Arab, son of a local Arab leader. She told me the two boys were the best of friends. She described a time before 1948 when the vast majority of Jews and Arabs lived together largely peacefully. She seemed sad that there was so much hatred and animosity, that the Jewish state didn’t live up to its foundation of universal equality, justice and peace.

    Diverse People Living Together

    We’ve come a long way from the prejudices of our past. We Americans have elected Barack Obama.

    It is time for the vestiges of the discrimination and horror of the 1940s to end. It is time for Palestinian refugee families to be allowed and encouraged to return and rebuild their homes and lives. This will give the Jews the peace they have always wanted, a peace they could never achieve through expulsions and killings that left Jewish philosopher Martin Buber feeling as though the Jews had learned how to behave from Nazis. It’s time for Americans to give up the notion of supporting a state built for people of one religion at the expense of people of another and to support the American ideal of diverse people living together in equality with justice and peace. This is the Zionism of Martin Buber, a spiritual Zionism of Jews, Christians and Muslims living together in peace. While I am happy and proud of the idea of a Jewish state, the idea of a Jewish state created at the expense of the homes and lives of 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children is inconsistent with my Jewish American values.

    Some may think these words give ammunition to anti-Semites. On the contrary, the violations of our Jewish principles — the displacement of Palestinians, the killing Israel commits, our support of that killing, and our failure to speak out against it — is what gives real ammunition to hatred of Jews. At the 1951 dedication of the Hebrew Academy, my grandfather summed up the sentiment of the day, saying “The principles of democracy to which we, together with all true Americans, are devoted, can best be preserved and strengthened by our unflagging devotion to the moral and ethical teachings of our own faith.” We have the opportunity to be a beacon to the world for our Judeo-Christian principles, democracy, freedom and justice. But to do that, we have to look past our old prejudices and invite our Palestinian brothers and sisters to return home and rebuild together.

    Dr. Feldman can be contacted at sfeldman@wfubmc.edu

  • luca says

    Why assume that “David” is smart? Many ( e.g. 78%) American Jews stop thinking when it comes to politics and embrace leftism as their new religion and leftism hates Western Civilization and Israel. It’s not clear whether American rabbis such as Rabbi Tony are the cause or the effect but there’s a correlation. Tony doesn’t even see the irony of elevating being a “progressive” above everything else.”Social Justice” is the new mantra of American congregations, and Obama was the new messiah although he evinced nothing positive and much that was negative before being elected. Now that he’s clearly the worst President in memory, I suspect that American Jews will still vote >50% for Democrats in the next election. How smart can that possibly be?

  • Steve F says

    Dear Rabbi Tony Jutner,
    PEACEFUL convoy??? Have you been avoiding ALL the news reports about what actually transpired? Have you purposely ignored the video footage showing groups of arabs on the ship chanting anti jewish songs?
    What about pictures of the cache of weapons found? Have you not seen those either.
    Please look here then: http://idfspokesperson.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/weaponsmarmara1.jpg

    I’m sure jews like you would be much more comfortable if Israelis would stop their troubling ways, make “peace” with the arabs by giving them what they want, and all have to move to the U.S.
    We would sure save lots of lives that way…

  • Bruce says

    Rabbi Tony I’m fairly sure is not a Rabbi. No Jewish Rabbi is going to tell Jews to leave Israel, he’s Muslim.

  • Bruce says

    It’s amazing to me how such an educated man can be so blind and void of common sense. Not trying to be mean here but man…come on. It is soooo clear that Israel can never do anything right and absolutely have no right to defend themselves or look after their best interests. I think YOU should set the example for Israel and give away YOUR property and YOUR home, because that’s what this is really all about. Other than the fact that a very real devil is out to destroy these people. Have a nice day.

  • Great post, Daniel.

    For anyone looking for more facts (including video) about the events in question, visit:

  • Hadassah Rose says

    On May 31, 2010, the Israeli Navy executed a military mission for security purposes. This action has created a global ripple affect and stirred anti-Semitic sentiments. Those individuals, who have waited on baited breath for a Jew to do something that will give them a reason for the hatred that was already festering unfounded in their hearts, will rejoice in this. The Jewish nation inside and outside of Israel, regardless of their political beliefs or agendas, should stand united in solidarity. Regardless of our stand on whether or not the action taken by the Israeli government and naval force was justified, we as Jews should unite in solidarity because these actions have taken place.
    History has shown us, that regardless of our political affirmations, religious affiliations, or geographical associations, that the anti-Semitism we have endured throughout history, will continue with or without cause. No one asked how religious our grandparents were or whether or not they kept Kosher before they sent them to the concentration camps and gas chambers. We were not slaughtered for our political views during the Spanish Inquisition.
    We have been systematically separated from every other human being and executed because of our heritage, not what we believe. Make no mistake, we as Jews must show solidarity, not because we agree or condemn the actions of the Israeli government, but because we are separated from the nations. We have not been separated by the nations that look for reasons to hate us, but by Hashem himself.
    During this time of crisis, we need to unite with one voice, a voice that will resonate through the hatred and injustice. The worldwide unification of the Jewish people is powerful enough to bring about the coming of Moshiach. We should call to arms, not to take up weapons to fight as our enemies have against us, but to arm ourselves with the study of Torah, reciting of Tehillim, and by doing Mitzvos.
    We want Moshiach now !!!
    Let us encourage all Jews to unite together with one voice and recite each day the 20th Tehillim:
    1. For the Conductor, a psalm by David. 2. May the Lord answer you on the day of distress; may the Name of the God of Jacob fortify you. 3. May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion. 4. May He remember all your offerings, and always accept favorably your sacrifices. 5. May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill your every counsel. 6. We will rejoice in your deliverance, and raise our banners in the name of our God; may the Lord fulfill all your wishes. 7. Now I know that the Lord has delivered His anointed one, answering him from His holy heavens with the mighty saving power of His right hand. 8. Some [rely] upon chariots and some upon horses, but we [rely upon and] invoke the Name of the Lord our God. 9. They bend and fall, but we rise and stand firm. 10. Lord, deliver us; may the King answer us on the day we call.

  • saved 2 save says

    May the works of darkness be exposed to vindicate the IDF who would not be bullied – sorry to see you baited and fall for such a trap, shame on antisemitist media shame- and now the jounalists continue to profit on misfortune like sharks circling for a feeding frenzy shame

  • Chaim Mayerson says

    Gut gezukt!

    To your friend who “will be asked to show solidarity”, the answer is that he now has the OPPORTUNITY to show solidarity. As Mordechai said to Esther so long ago: “If you remain silent at this time, relief and salvation will come to the Jews from elsewhere, and you and your family will be forgotten.”

  • Shira says

    Thank you so much for this. For a liberal, social justice activist living in Israel that day was excruciating for me. It is so clear that this was a well planned, violent provocation hidden under the mask of human rights activism. And I am personally offended by that, being a real activist myself in civil rights movements in Israel. The line is not at all unclear or thin in this situation in my opinion. My own family did not believe me that they were not seeing the whole story. This article helps a lot, because you are a voice that the Jewish American people trust. So thank you for this.

  • MO ROSE says

    As an American I am disappointed by Israeli intransgience. As an American Jew I do not have a say in Israeli policy. Clearly fanaticism will never get us to where we want to go. It is especially interesting that our Isreli brethrn chose to embarass VP Biden, and then timed this attack when President Obama is to meet Netanyahu. What happenned to diplomacy and good old common sense? All the glib explanations will never convince anyone with a brain. Right is not might: if we do not do the right thing things can NEVER turn out right.

  • Zelda Dvoretzky says

    Dear Rabbi Gordis,

    My 14-year-old grandson in Houston sent me the following:
    Hey Oma! I have been reading up on the recent operation carried out by Israeli commandos against the flotilla headed for Gaza. Can you tell me what the attitude towards it is in Israel.


    Gabriel is a serious kid and a devoted debater. On my last visit in April, he picked my brains about Israel at every opportunity, and his questions were thoughtful and often pointed. It was an exciting, gratifying experience for me.

    I sent him my own answer to his question, and appended your superb column. I also recommended that he put himself on your mailing list.

    Zelda Dvoretzky
    (Gabriel’s Oma)

  • Einat Haran says

    “90% of Gazan famalies came from within Israel and many still have their keys and deeds.”
    That is the biggest load of total and utter crap.

  • Jeff L says

    To Steven R. Feldman,

    Your historical knowledge and understanding of the context in which Israel exists today are sorely lacking. The Muslims/Arabs (not always coextensive, but often they are) and other nations, ehtnic/religious groups have killed, expelled and tried to eliminate Jews and Judaism for centuries. A few examples: destruction of the 1st and 2d Temples, Masada, Spanish Inquisition, Russian pogroms, Holocaust, Iranian nuclear bomb program. The reason that Israel exists and needs to exist, for American jews and other Jews inside and outside Israel is simple: we will be wiped off the face of the earth (or there will be constant attempts to do so) without Israel as a Jewish state and a refuge should we be expelled from our home countries (or should another Nazi Germany fry us systematically in gas chambers).

    There can be no right of return of “displaced” Arabs because if there were, within 1-3 generations, given the higher Muslim/Arab birth rate, Israel no longer would be a majority Jewish state. Essentially, Israel as we know it would cease to exist., and Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, et al., would have accomplished “peacefully” what they have been unable to accomplish thorugh violence and war. If you think “it [another Holocaust] can’t happen here” (in the U.S., or western Europe), that’s what German jews though in the 1930s — visit the Holocaust Museum in DC and you will understand how the Nazis’ incremental approach to eliminating German Jews’ rights took the Jews by surprise when they no longer had any rights and were shuttled east on trains. Also, far more Arabs/Muslims were displaced by Jordan’s, Egypt’s, Syria’s, Saudi Arabia’s, et al., refusal to take them in (remember, the West Bank was part of Jordan pre-’67) than by any Israeli action.

    Is Israel prefect? Of course not, but it is held to a much higher standard than any other country in the world in every way.

  • CM says

    Danny you are so right, in all you say, but you do not go far enough.
    What do I mean by that?

    The world applies a double standard when it comes to Israel. So reality & factual truth has nothing to do with it. Hillel Halkin’s 2002 article on the new Anti-Semitism says it all.

    Therefore we as Jews, we as staunch Zionists, & we as Israelis have got to come to realize that the approach of the past 62 years has just not worked. We have not won our last 3 wars. Our enemies get stronger & smarter & therefore by default Israel gets relatively weaker. How much longer can Israel continue on this pathway?

    It is time for a radically new approach by the Israeli leadership. Yet I fear it is incapable or unwilling to try it. It maybe time to do the unthinkable – Creating the environment which will allow Israel to sit down with its enemies & try & negotiate a serious peace agreement.

    PS. I am a naturalized American citizen and love my adopted country but since birth have lived by the concept that Israel is my religious & ethnic home. I dont have to explain Israel. I dont have to be defensive about Israel. In fact I am extremely proud of & possessive of Israel. But I do disagree with the policy of Israel’s leaders regarding the Palestinian conflict & do not see it as an endgame winning strategy.

    It is all too, too sad.

  • Robert F. says

    To Steve F (re cache of weapons):

    Seriously, do you think this bunch of sticks and jackknives is going to horrify the world? “Look! They had wrenches! MONKEY wrenches! BIG ORANGE ones!” Not to mention the deadly bungee cords and the insidious psi-ops weaponized CD-ROMs. And don’t think I didn’t notice to keffiyeh–which might as well be a swastika, yes?

  • Elise says

    It’s hard enough understanding the continuous hatred of the world towards Jews and Israel, but when our very own attack us, we’re in trouble. Thank you for your wonderful column.

  • Ziv Ti says

    Robert F.
    the cds u talked about are DISK SAW that were used to cut metal bars from the ship!!!
    There r videos from the ships security cameras that show how the “peace activists” were trainig on the ship (like military) they were divided into groups of 4-8 people and every grup had a comander.
    Al Jazira intrvewd some of people how retorned to theire states and they say – we were rady for them we fought them and this was the porpose “to die or go to GAZA -Jihad. Famely of the of thoese who was killed said that before he went on the ship he told that he is dreaning to die as a jihad worrior in Gaza

  • Ziv Ti says

    By the way, most of the passangers were peace activist thats why they r back at theire countries not harmed in any way.

  • Igor Mel'cuk says

    Dear Dr. Gordis,
    What you say is 137% correct. Any person who does not support Israel is a criminal. But Jews who do not support Israel are monstrous criminals. They want to distance themselves from the problems of the Jewish survival, but they cannot: they will be the first to suffer if—God forbid—something happens to Israel. On no-one will have pity for them.

    I. Mel’cuk, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

  • twobyfour says

    Robert F, you apparently haven’t watched the clips where these amusing implements were used. I am purdy sure that if you were in a situation similar to one on the boat, you wouldn’t be that amused. Bats, knives, metal rods, yes, they are weapons, compared to paintball guns. Plus the handguns taken form injured soldiers. Weapons too.

  • Avraham ben Yakov (USA) says

    To those with sympathy for the flotilla terrorists:


    ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?????
    ??? ????? ????? ????? ????

    Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari
    Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman

    All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel
    In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate

    Qohelet Raba, 7:16

  • Lori says

    I believe that, by the time the truth comes out, it will “no longer be newsworthy” and will be ignored by the media – who are not ignoring the opportunity to take shots at Israel. The truth, regardless of its nature, won’t make it on the evening news – in the United States, or anywhere but Israel. So, while I’m certain that Israel made some mistakes, I’m also certain that innocent people with strictly humanitarian motives don’t attack soldiers.

  • ron hansing says

    To me it was a no brainer…. I am aghast at the world’s response.

    I am ashamed of the UN, the world, and not to mention Obama….

    I do think that this was a setup planned with the expected result…. Why are people so blind to this?

    Nie Wieder ron

  • OzBender says

    Several readers here lamented the news media referring to Israel as “Jewish State”.
    They need to face the reality: Israel was established as a Jewish State. The state for the Jewish people. Other than that, there was absolutely no need for any Israel.
    The very word Jews is derived from Latin (Roman)word Jude which is derived from Judea, the country of Jews. So Jews are Judeans. The people of Judea, just like Chinese are the people of China and Germans are from Germany.
    So those American Jews who object to being associated with Israel, are traitors of their own people. They think that the Jewish religion can be divorced from the Land of Israel, however Judaism is a nationalistic religion. It stressed the importance of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem for Jews. Virtually all Jewish holidays are nationalistic just like the 4th of July:
    Defeating Egyptians and escaping from the slavery, defeating Hamman and saving Jews, defeating the Seleucid Greeks and assimilated Jews (Hanuka), etc.

    The Jews who don’t support Israel are traitors of their people. They betray the dream of their ancestors who for 2000 years have been praying for restoration of the Jewish State!
    The self-hating, self-denying, anti-Israeli Jews, would do a great service to the Jewish people by converting to some other religion.

  • OzBender says

    Your friend probably would have opposed Warsaw Ghetto uprising. At least they should not call it a Jewish ghetto. Ho would condemn the Jews who were killing “innocent” Germans.
    The psychology behind this condemnation is very simple, if he acknowledges that Israel is fighting for its very survival against barbarous and genocidal neighbors, he would feel guilty about sitting comfortably on his hands while his people are facing the existential threat. Going to Israel and fight the barbarians is scary, but even standing up against the tide of leftist-Islamic antisemitic alliance is scary. It is safer to join the haters of Israel.

  • Pierre says

    And here’s another gem; rioters actually PREPARING their weapons and improvising others in preparation for the soldiers arrival;


  • Ira M. Salwen says

    Re: Robert F. on weapons cache:

    The YouTube video presented a more complete picture of what weapons were seized and it left no doubt as to the peaceful intentions of the folks on the ship.

    I’m sure the jar of liquid with the road flair stuck in it was to there so someone could catch up on his reading if the light was bad.

    The collection of metal bars and pipes was undoubtedly so arts-and-crafts types could make wind chimes during those boring stretches at sea.

    Looking at the large pile of wooden clubs and bats in the photo, I can’t help thinking that, in the unfortunate event that someone attacks me with heavy pole, I sure hope I have my paintball gun on me!

  • Bob Hanson says

    I realize the world is yin and yang now. The US voters are deeply divided over political issues now and animosity runs high between the two sides, moreso than I’ve seen on my 60+ years on this earth.

    But what’s been going on with Israel defies logic to me. The left goes after Israel for reasons, at least in their own minds, that are not due to anti-Semitism, yet give Palestinians almost a free pass despite their decades of hatred to the Jewish nation.

    Much media react with a swift, reflexive diatribe against Israel. These are the same people who have nothing to say regarding N. Korea’s deliberate sinking of a S. Korean ship. Where’s the outrage? Who’s out stirring up votes at the UN for this horror? Where were these folks when Hamas lobbed thousands of rockets into Israel? As far as I’m concerned, they have no voice now.

    Thanks for your wonderful article.

  • I find it disconcerting to read any evil attacking remarks or feeling against Israel for reacting to the aid ships for Gaza. Can we simply believe the Arabs are just getting needed humanitarian aid. Based on there solid track record of terrorism which continues on daily basis against and continual Arab doubletalk and spewing hatred and threats against Israel and the US and the recent terror attacks on American soil. Israel has every right to be concerned and sending a flotilla of boats carrying military personnel to inspect everything on board ship from ship sailors to civilians to all aid and equipment. Let us not forget or look the otherway to the way the Arabs solve their issues thru decent lying murdering and saying and feeling it is their religious right.

  • Gladys says

    From what I understand they were not supposed to be in the area. What were they doing there?

  • Skip says

    Here is an American who will always stand with Israel. That’s all I have to say.

  • Joan Florsheim says

    The world is ready to condemn Israel before knowing anything about any event. Israel has a right to make sure that more weapons are not channeled into Gaza. The scariest part of this whole scenario is the fact that Europe doesn’t give Israel a chance and, for a change, Obama is vacillating. His (Obama’s) greatest accomplishmnent so far has been to weaaken the Israel-America relationship. As American Jews we really are in a difficult position; I feel like I am banging my head against the wall.

  • June 2

    Here is a Canadian, non-Jewish, who will ALWAYS stand with Israel. My heart aches over the insanity of the media and the bigotry of my nation. G-d be merciful to the Jewish people and may He protect that precious Jewish nation He has called the apple of His eye. G-d said to Abraham that He would bless those who bless him and his seed and curse those who curse him and his seed. According to these scriptures, the nations stand condemned already! In that light, let’s not be surprised at the mayhem North America is experiencing these days.

  • Pleasant Jaymz says

    Hey Daniel,

    Tell David he does NOT speak for all of American Jewry.

    I am a single mother, a returning Jew (thanks to my ancestors) and an American Jew.

    I get criticism from all sides: people who are critical of single moms, people who don’t like women, arabs who don’t like americans or jews, mexicans who don’t like whites, jews who don’t like or are suspicious of converts/returners, messianic jews who are angry with me for leaving christianity, my own dad who thinks I’m going straight to hell regarding Jesus, missionaries of all sectors of christianity, conspiracy theorists who still believe that Jews control everything, fanatics who think I’m lilith, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    You know what? I don’t give a shit. I am a sabra at heart. Every time I hear about something like this, I wish I had the money to make aliyah right now. I’m 42 years old, but I would love to put on some buckskin and grab a rifle – which is probably the Cherokee in me. (Interestingly enough, their name for God is Yah.)

    I am an American Jewess with both Sephardic and Ashkenazic roots, and I proudly support and defend Israel. Add 4 more, my kids, and you have an entire basketball team in support of Israel. I am absolutely sure I am NOT the only one over here who feels this way.

  • Pleasant Jaymz says

    P.S. To those who would call me a bitch, I thank you. Sometimes it takes a bitch.

  • Pleasant Jaymz says

    One more thing, my friends:

    Kee Emmanu El!

  • hana blume says

    Worrisome is the minimal to non-existent articulated response from the organized American Jewish “establishments.” Today, at Carnegie-Mellon Univ. in Pittsburgh, a group with posters saying “Support Israel” stood while Pres. Obama spoke on the campus. Not one of them was Jewish. (they were middle-aged “tea party-ers.” Two blocks away was the Hillel building. Not a student appeared in support of Israel. One mile away was the United Jewish Federation Bldg. and the Jewish Community Center. They evidently couldn’t find a soul to stand up visibly for Israel either. Synagogues used to flaunt “Save Darfur” banners. They’re gone, but nothing says “Support Israel.” What have we learned from our history?

  • Robert F. says

    @Rabbi Leonard Levin:

    Thank you for bringing us back to fundamental Torah values.

    A little later in BavaMetzia 59b, it is written: “What is the meaning of the verse, Thou shalt neither wrong a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt? It has been taught: R. Nathan said: Do not taunt your neighbour with the blemish you yourself have.”

  • GLEN SOL says


  • Joe Defez says

    A lesson of the 20th century has been lost on too many American Jews. The lesson: Pacificism in the face of terrorism is immoral. Never Again ! ! !

  • Harry says

    There is one issue that noone seems to address: Yes, all the Jews, wherever they live, are part of the fate of the State of Israel. Yes, there never will be a comprehensive peace because a radical few in the Arab and Muslim countries don’t want peace.
    BUT: No military safety can be achieved by periodic incursions into neighbouring areas. It is a lesson we had to learn in Lebanon and in Gaza. After every war the arms flooded back into the area, as they do now to Hisbollah and to Hamas.
    Israel should not blockade Gaza or Lebanon, let them buy and import all the arms they want, with a little luck they will use them on each other, as they have done so many times. We live in an age where Iran, Syria and all other of those around us who wish to do so can fire missiles into Israel which are a hundred times as deadly as those Kassem rockets. We should return the West Bank to the Arabs, all of it, let them cut each other’s throats, as they have done time and again. We don’t need those territories, not for defense reasons, they harm our morale because occupation is against the jewish spirit. And, don’t forget, historically the Kingdoms of Yehudah and of Israel were never ethnically clean, there was always a population of 20 to 30% of Philistines, Nabateans and others. We don’t need those settlements, Yehudah and Shomron today are not ours but theirs, we got instead Akkad, which in former times was rarely controlled by the Hebrews. Give them a part of OLd Jerusalem, I’d rather have the Kotel and Har Hazeitym, and let them have their capital and their state, whether it is peaceful or not, we will defend ourselves, because then again our boys will be motivated and will not have to police occupied territories.
    We need to achieve unity, we already lost our home once because there was no Akhdut.

  • Ayee MdC says

    The real SHAME is on all those Jews who are so willingly anti Israel : a Third Column within Eretz borders and abroad. Shame on all those Jews and WHY don’t they live within Gaza or even on the West bank ? Good riddance I say. Ayee MdC

  • Moshe says

    No matter how Israel reacts, pro-actively or re-actively, the rest of the world will condemn them. This incident is another way for the terrorists to use the media to turn Israel into the bad guy.

  • yitmy says

    I am really perplexed on how staged the incident was and the world response to it. Who would actually film the thing if they were just peacekeepers. And yet there are more then 1 video and seems like the world is a tuned to just one side- how come only one video is seen in the US and another is seen by Israel? I am uncertain why the populations of the world should pass judgement on a sovereign nation. Did the world say the embargo around Cuba was a bad thing? SO why do they think that they have any business butting in to another countries business.

    My question is to all countries statesmen, ” If your country was bombarded with rockets and terror(suicide bombers) on a daily basis, how would you respond?” How would you protect your people?

    I would love to hear what you have to say!

  • Victor says

    189 out of 189 countries have condemned Israel. Not a single one had the guts to stand up for her in case they might be seen to have broken ranks. They can’t seem to understand that in the end they will pay for this lilley-livered stance with their own blood and that of their citizens. The sheer dishonesty of it all just boggles the mind. I hate to play the anti-semitism card but when you consider the continual negativity against Israel their has to be something more than just a universal love and sympathy for the Palestinian cause. The fact is, the true feeling of the world towards Jews is decidely negative and Israel is simply far too successful for general acceptance. We are only tolerated if we are victims – but now that we are no longer cast in that mould can only be, by extension, the villains. That’s the logic behind it all.





  • Following is a Letter to the Editor that I sent to major newspapers earlier this morning:

    To the Editor:

    It’s really a shame that the story being told by the world’s media regarding the Israeli boarding of the Turkish vessel on it’s way to Gaza is one-sided and factually wrong. The Israeli embargo of ships entering Gaza has been an ongoing process. The vessels arriving were told ahead of time that they were violating the embargo and they needed to turn back or be inspected for contraband (basically weapons). Israel has, over the course of the embargo, inspected other ships and allowed true humanitarian goods to be delivered. In fact, Israel has taken the materials and delivered the humanitarian goods directly to the Gaza authorities.

    The boarding of the Turkish ship by the Israeli commandos was the direct result of the ship breaking the embargo and refusing to turn back or be inspected. The Israelis, rightfully so, took appropriate measures to insure that the ship did not contain arms or other contraband. No deadly force was used until the ship crew attacked the troops. The question I need to have answered is not whether the Israeli actions were appropriate but whether or not the intent of the Turkish boat was specifically to provoke an international incident?

  • Randall Laraway says

    Wholeheartedly, I support Israel in her efforts to defend herself. Israel is sovereign and has every God-given right to defend her people. Which by the way are my spiritual people as well. Not many await the coming of the Messiah as we share this most precious of expectations. Those who actively support Israel are truly blessed just like was promised to Abraham and his descendants (B’Resheet 12:3). As a popular song says: “I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

  • Eric says

    To whoever posted the youtube video supposedly showing the “peace activists” preparing weapons for the attack, uh, it’s obviously fake. The ship is on the open sea, and not one person seems to be swaying at all. I can appreciate that the security camera may move 100% with the ship (so the ship might seem stationary), but the people shouldn’t.

    Comments have been disabled on the video to prevent people from pointing this out.

  • Steven Schrier says

    Eric, I agree the video could be a fake, but swaying is not proof. I have sailed on the Med often and it is calmer than most seas. The waves usually come up after midday due to thermal winds if one is near land.

  • Ziv Ti says


    1.Comments were disabled by YOUTUBE!!!!!!
    u can chek that with youtube
    2.Its a huge Cruise ship in the mediterranean sea at summer, there no big or even avarage waves.
    sea any vidoe from thoese ships u want see any movment!!!

    U just made the point that its doesnt matter what happend. U alrady “know” what hapend u dont want to be bathered with FACTS (like security cameras)

  • Barbara says

    As an American Jew with 43 family members killed by the Nazis, I am unwilling to sit back and watch another Holocaust so I speak out. The people who argue with me for supporting Israel as a nation of “my people” are leftist American Jews who refuse to see the world as it is. They are so brain-washed by 35 years of diversity and political correctness training that they are unable to distinguish between good and evil. They put it all on equal footing. It’s delusional. My advice to Israel: step up your public relations in this country. Establish a speakers’ bureau. Use intelligent American Jews who are conversant with the truth, train them to speak out as surrogates for Israel and to field questions. This war against these insane radical Islamists must be fought on two fronts: militarily and in the media. Michael Oren and Bret Stephens are good surrogates. Israel needs many more.

  • Ziv Ti says

    I am sad that no one in the world talk about Egypt that is part of the blockade as mouch as israel. No one is trying to enter Gaza from their side. Only israel asked to stop the blockade….
    This make me sad couse its shows me that the world does not realy care about the palestinians, it only care of criticizing Israel.
    UN in couple of hours made the desition to blame israel but they can say nothin of Darfur or any ather country after years of negotiations. The UN cant even speak of N.KOREA that do what ever they want. I didnt hear a word from any one when Turkish army entered Iraq to fight Curdish resistens.

  • Karl says

    When will American Jews realize that leftists have become the enemies of Israel. The only home for American Jews interested in Israel’s survival is the Republican Party. As a conservative christian I cannot believe how large numbers of American Jews are willing to throw Israel under the bus.

  • Israelis say one thing; the peace gang, anolther. Where is the truth?
    simple way to figure out what took place.
    All mainstream newspapers reported that some 40 people aboard the ships did not have either passports or identification and would not give their names.
    Question: what country–here we refer to Turkey–allows 40 people to board a ship leaving their port without passports or identification, esp.in that area of the world?
    Conclusion: Turkey in cahoots with this terror gang.

  • Stephen G says

    First Daniel I think you should ask your friend David has he ever looked at the Keenest, has he ever sat in a cafe in Israel-Jews never speak with one voice even if we’re judged as one. As a Jew should I be blamed for Israel’s action or as a Canadian should I take blame for Canadian wrongs in the prison transfers in Afghanistan or The Somalia Affair which was a 1993 military scandal later dubbed “Canada’s national shame”. It peaked with the brutal beating death of a Somali teenager at the hands of two Canadian soldiers participating in humanitarian efforts in Somalia. I’m sure as a Jew David has no trouble acknowledging Einstein, Schweitzer, Freud or various other Jewish greats in the vast array of fields where Jews have shined despite our small numbers in the populace of the world. I say David you want the good-which there is plenty of, than you get the bad and you don’t defend the bad you condemn it but if you think anti-Semitism is either dead or just provoked by Israeli actions than I’m sorry for your delusions. Israel does many things wrong but without Israel nobody would be able to feel as free as Jew as we are. I have no desire to follow Daniel’s footsteps and move to Israel but I do know I’m very grateful for its being. I don’t think as Jews we could be as free without it.
    I will point out to David here in Canada there were certain beaches I could not go to up to the 1970’s. I believe in America there were certain hotels he could not get into the 1960’s.
    I’m a Jew, I’m a Canadian and I’m a human inhabiting this part of the Universe they call earth-when there is something wrong done I should condemn it but what ever glories I gain from the various identities I have I should know they aren’t mine unless I did something personally to facilitate them.

  • Stephen G says

    I would a quick PS I had just read Daniel’s letter- none of the responses. The response that annoys me is when people try to justify wrongness on their part by the wrongness of others. Sorry wrong is wrong. The reasons for wrong can vary from err to intent but justifying or trying to excuse it perpetuates and justifies other’s wrong against you. Apologize, try to rectify and see if you can avoid a repeat.

  • Ziv Ti says

    Stephen G

    I think u live in some perfect wolrd but the probleme is the the world is not perfect. When arm thieves come in to your house and u exadently kiil one of them when u felt in danger IS IT WRONG?
    probebly yes its wrong u know it and everybody else know it but due to the circumstances people will undertand u.
    No one in israel like what happend or wanted this to hapend… But we feal that in that spesific point when those soldiers were at the ship they had no choice!!!
    When u stang agains some one that WINS in every sitiuation, ship erive to gaza they won, ship stoped in israel they won , they die during the fught against the soldiers they won. and i am not talking about real peace activist who were at the ship i am talking about 100 activist that had nothin to do with peace!!!
    So was it wrong? afcourse .Would israel prefer diferent ending? afcourse. Would israel do this again if the knew how its gona end? YES – but in diferent way so it wouldnt happen.

  • Chris White says

    Enough is enough with playing the victim. If every single nation in the world is condemning Israel – even nations that have never oppressed Jews (even though many nations that oppressed Jews also oppressed other minorities in the past because that was just the spirit of the time), then isn’t it time to say that there is something wrong with Israel and not the rest of the world?
    Pointing the blame at others, saying that the rest of the world has it out for Israel is not getting the state anywhere.

  • David Willig says

    Of course you are right, but I suggest a method of getting Israel ahead of the PR mess.
    Israel should announce that landing the boat will be considered an act of an independent country, and Israel should noe recognize the independent country of Gaza. Why not? We have no troops, no border disputes, no reason no to recognize the newly independent state.
    What do we gain? We are no longer an “occupying power”. We have no further responsibility to supply electricity, food, water, medical supplies or anything else. If they want to establish friendly relations with Israel (maybe the Messiah will come tomorrow, about as good a chance) fine. If not, let all the “humanitarians” take over. It is no longer Israel’s problem.
    As an independent country, Gaza would be responsible for securing its borders. Any rocket attack on Israel would provoke a quick and harsh retaliation, ending promptly when requested by the UN. Another attack, another quick and strong retaliation. An act of war is an act of war and no one could be only sightly at war more than they could be slightly pregnant.
    In short, independence for Gaza would cut the Gordian knot that binds us as “occupying power” with no power and no occupation.


    My wife was appalled by the last three sentences of my post (June 1, 2010 1:56 am which I herewith retract and apologize for.

    It was unworthy to suggest Rabbi Gordis is not concerned about the welfare of ALL Israeli citizens and residents.

    I am impressed by the variety and diversity of comments here. The dictum of Hillel and Shamai lives! I only wish more folks would talk less about whether Israel had the RIGHT to do what it did, and more about whether it was a smart thing to do.

    Shabbat shalom to all from the Big Apple.

  • Paul Mish says

    Very well put, i couldnt have explained that better myself

    No one understands except those who have lived in israel or now live in israel what the israelis face on a daily basis and what they need to do in order to always protect themselves.

  • Paul Mish says

    The non smart thing to do would have been to allow the floatilla to reach the Gaza harbor.

    I have full faith in Israeli Military to do what it must to protect the lives of Israelis, and thats pretty much it, there is a reason why they have florished this long and it partly lies in the fact that the israeli military always does what it must to protect the state of Israel as best it can, always

    Remember people, when those in the world decide to burn us at the stake only that small piece of land with its strong hearted military will protect you, ONLY them.

  • Paul Mish says

    The torah says, if you know someone is coming to kill you, kill them before they kill you. pretty simple.

  • Paul Mish says

    And Victor made a VERY GOOD POINT above

  • Helene Naftali says

    As an American Jew I understand what your friend is saying, as I am living some of it as well.
    In my view, one of the key problems that has got to be resolved is the horrible PR that Israel has or doesn’t have. For the generation growing up in America, they/we are confused by the media and not sure anymore what to believe or who to believe is doing the right thing .Who is initiating the aggression does not seem clear more and more often. Why so much ? Is it just?Is it too much? This is constantly being questioned.
    The incident that occurred a few weeks ago with VP Biden and the settlements is confusing to many of us. Where do the majority of Israelis stand on that issue I’d like to know?. Why does it feel that we are so ‘aggressive’ in our stance on that issue? And It is even more confusing where to stand in relation to this recent Flotilla incident, even as we wait for more information. It feels like we( staunch supporters of Israel) are not sure exactly what Israel stands for anymore,preserve life first, or use extraordinary aggression to protect or prevent future aggressions. We appear in the public eye to appear as the aggressors more often than I can remember, even if all or most of our actions are in response to one offensive act after another. It is the perception. It is the PR.
    So, my sense is that we , as Jews, as Israelis, or as Americans that support israel through and through, need to figure out every single thing we can do to clarify better(MUCH BETTER) to the world around us, that we ARE NOT THE AGGRESSORS and prove it. This is , in my view, what the main PR problem is and until we figure out how to change that perception, Israel will be more and more alienated than it unfortunately already is.

  • sheila ginsberg says

    Jews who are traitors (left-wingers usually) should be excommunicated ,but because we have no Pope, can not be thrown out.Too bad.The Nazis recognized that the assimilated Jews of Germany were just as deserving of the gas chambers. Will we ever learn? Psychologically speaking ,most of these apologists just ache t o be fully accepted and loved by the world.These are the supposed humanitarians who don’t even protect their own people.I have never voted Republican except for our governor of California(mistake)and I am ashamed I did not recognize that Obama is an unabashed supporter of Moslems due to his personal history. Some persons of mixed ancestry or races have personal axes to grind. It’s sad but these individuals are the racists because they see life through bitter and distorted glasses.Most Caucasians have learned that racism is stupid and counterproductive towards creating a better society, but some of the embittered victims refuse to let go of their hatreds.I am tired of liberals making excuses for vicious hate groups that exist to get revenge on others. Obama is not a centrist and I now understand why he was associated with Rev.Wright. Wake up you weak-minded liberal Jews. You need to be more objective. Jews who supported the Bolsheviks did so with good intentions but eventually woke up. Do not contribute to Israel’s problems, but stand firm with the one ethical country in the Middle East.

  • Ziv Ti says

    Surprise surprise
    At the begining of this year (january) Turkish convoy tried entering gaza true Egypt which didt alowed them. Egyp elowed the to dock at AL ARISH port and then there were riots 50 people enjured and one egyptian poleoficer killed.
    There r very few videos but u can look it on youtube.
    Ifound anather video of this insident how jordans dont alow the aid come true.


    look for ather videos u can see there alot of violence.

  • Stephen Gurevitch says

    I’m 55 and grew up watching “Exodus” with some frequency. So I’m greatly touched by that movie (Daniel like myself has bemoaned it seems meaningless to the younger generation.) It showed the English and their duplicity, how some Arab leaders were looking for peace and the violence of Stern and Irgun.
    When I was in Israel in 1972 &73 there was a feeling amongst by most Palestinians that the Six Day War was the best thing that happened to them. They were living in a democracy and the economy was bringing more $’s than they ever saw before. Than came the PLO the PLFP and various alphabet soups advocating for Israel’s destruction and a Palestine state. If Israel had surrendered all the land they conquered back than it would have just reverted back to the Arab states they conquered it from and there would be no Palestine.
    In the interim Israel has cut the head off of much of the Palestinian leadership; perhaps a good thing in the beginning but now has given birth to a multi-headed snake that you don’t know with which to deal.
    The Hammas are very successful at propaganda-they can make this their Exodus moment. One writer suggested an independent Gaza-good start. Let’s let them have an independent Palestine and let them manage their affairs and let us pray they’re good neighbours but if not then let them feel our wrath.
    BTW I also propose a moratorium on allowing religious parties to run anywhere in the Mid-East including Israel as the results seem to be creating theocracies rather than democracies.

  • Ziv Tikhonov says

    Stephen Gurevitch

    1.As Israeli (i was born i Belarus)
    2.AS Israeli Ex-IDF officer (now in reserv)
    3.As One who belong to left wing of israeli politics.
    4.As a person who dream of peace.

    I agree with u.
    Bouth sides made mistakes.
    But Israel today is not tritend farly by world press, every conflict in israel get one sided press.
    Did u know that IDF as every ather army have its objects and one off thoese object in west bank is – TO ALLOW PALESTINIANS NORMAL LIFE AS POSIBLE. As officer thats what i had to teach my soldiers. I spent 4 years at Gaza and West bank during the scoud itifada, and i say this proudly that no army in the world would act as IDF. Every soldier in every chek post has the right to think and even during biggest operations to think and make desitions that r not in the best interest of israel if he think its for humanitarian reasons.I as a young platoon comander sent soldiers to jail for taking candy from palestinian couse me and my comanders undertood that it is wrong couse the do it of fear from us.
    I spend 1 mounth in the midlle of Hevron in some apartment that was being built by palestinians we used ut as a base camp for operations (it was nessery at the time) WE didnt even used the water from the building and brought it with us every day. At the end of the mounth IDF paid (to the oener) for this mounth we have been there, and agaid i say we had to be there at the time.
    at the year 2001 i served at gaza borders and every day 200-300 toused wokers enterd israel untill the summer 2001 first rockets started to fall on us.i remmeber the first days we had to sleep with our body armour on us becouse of this. only then israel started buldozing the houses and plantetions near the border where thouse rockets were fired from.
    Ofcourse mistakes been made.i hope i didnt made mistakes that couse lifes.
    I hope there will be peace some day it is in bouth sides interest.
    Last thing- i served near Ramallah there is a small village called Tibeh there is a bruary i some times buy theire bear in jaffa. I hope one day i could go there agaid as a civilian ant drink it there.

    sorry for my english

  • Alright already. We’re Right! So, the next
    thing to do is to wash our face and hands,
    comb our hair and face facts.

    My proposal is to declare the peace treaties, negotiations, and all coercion by the U.S.
    Clinton- Bush- Ombama to be exercises in
    stupidity bordering on INSANITY.

    Facts are, that due to the REFUSAL OF THE

    VOTED INTO POWER, TO BE PROOF POSITIVE THAT THE ” Palestenian occupants” have not
    shown any intention to uphold their end of
    the perverbial BARGAIN.

    Israel must present this breach, along with
    other breaches I have recorded in a separate document), to the PA, the Hamas, the U.S and the U.N. and the EU….
    and tell them the rules of all negotiations have been breached and by default, there is no peace agreement with the PA.

    As such, we should prepare to ask the Untied States and Europe to see if they can do something.. with them. We seek to
    see them be deported from the land of Israel.

    simple is, as simple does.
    work with the facts friends, work with the facts.

    Contact Davida Geller Rosenberg
    Davida.Expressit@gmail. com

  • Thanks for your clear and concise words. Hopefully this will wake some people up.

  • Meir ben Avraham says


  • Stephen G says

    Growing up I remember very well the Viet Nam war -how America was condemned for being there and in particular they were roundly condemned for something known as the My Lai Massacre. They put twenty-six officers on trial for that but only one a Wm Calley was found guilty. Some Americans wanted him exonerated saying he was being persecuted.
    Ariel Sharon had his moment with the Phalange and never was convicted of his crimes in allowing the massacres that took place during his watch.
    When wrongs are done you will get movements that suggest “America Love it or Leave it” or solidarity with IDF. In my life I do many wrongs for which I need to apologize to think an institution or country doesn’t make multiple mistakes which have vastly greater impact is incredulous. You have to look at the nature of the people in countries. The Americans are by nature a loud obnoxious bunch who thinks their way is the only right way-they compensate for this by being generous and open and as a Canadian I’m glad to overlook their faults and love them for their good.
    The IDF has a mandate to keep civilian harm to an absolute minimum. Does it succeed? Not always. Do you condemn Israel and the IDF when the IDF has either frustrated individuals or thugs in its membership? No but you condemn the act and try to insure it from not happening again.
    Jews have a long history of not having problems with Arabs or Muslims but rather with Christians and their various Inquisitions and pogroms.
    Muslims and Christians have the history of the Crusades.
    The creation of the State of Israel has caused problems between Jews and their Arab brethren. Do we do away with Israel and than see peace in the Mid-East? I strongly suggest no. What we do is acknowledge “yes” the Pales tines have some right to feel ripped off. What the Palestinians have to acknowledge was there never was a free and independent state of Palestine.
    The British Empire? Collapsed. The rise of America? Fallen; broken by their banking system. The rising powers? China and India. What could be the strongest force out there? Jewish technology married with Arab oil wealth
    Shalom and come together right now.

  • Ziv Tikhonov says


    Short story:
    Israeli soldier shot palestinian camel without good reason. This soldier went to jail and the army bought this palestinian 2 Camels.
    It happend last weak.
    Israel did many thing wrong but its truely want peace.
    I dont remmember who said that
    “palestinians never missed a chance to miss a chance”
    1.1948 – didnt exapt the un resolution.
    2.1995 with rabin
    3. 2000 With Barak in Camp david (he gave it all to palestinians)
    4.2008 with Olmeret (best ofer they can ever get) 96 % of their teritories and ather 4 exchange of teritories

  • Stephen G says

    First off I want to thank Ziv for his comments-to me he represents what is right in Israel and gives me hope.

    Short story:
    Israeli soldier shot Palestinian camel without good reason. This soldier went to jail and the army bought this Palestinian 2 Camels.
    It happend last weak.
    It will be funny (?) if this week more Palestinians show up with their sickest camel and try to endanger its life in an Israeli soldier’s presence.
    Israel did many thing wrong but its truely want peace
    True. Also even though high unemployment has caused an increase in encouragement in the Palestinian camp to raise martyrs I do think the majority of Palestinians recognize Israel isn’t going to go away so they’re better off having peace. Actually to me the biggest danger to peace in the Mid-East are the Christians and Jews who think we need a Holy War to hasten the Messiah or Second Coming.
    I dont remmember who said that
    “palestinians never missed a chance to miss a chance”
    I believe it was first Abba Eban and than echoed many times thereafter
    1.1948 – didnt exapt the un resolution
    True. Imagine if the US was given an UN resolution to give one of their states to Mexico? As Jews this is the fact we don’t acknowledge, we cry we are entitled to a homeland for ourselves and certainly no land made better sense than Israel (ok Miami was a close second) but if you don’t think it was guilt (something called the Holocaust) and apathy towards the Arabs (British Petroleum products and their like thought they could set rigs anywhere with immunity-would that ever happen again?) that we got it
    2.1995 with rabin
    3. 2000 With Barak in Camp david (he gave it all to palestinians)
    4.2008 with Olmeret (best ofer they can ever get) 96 % of their teritories and ather 4 exchange of teritories
    In fairness to any Palestinian leader anything they acquiesce to besides the total destruction of Israel is that they didn’t get enough. This is why Palestine has to be created by Israel unilaterally and this is why it has to be continuous so they can get from the Gaza to the West Bank without touching on Israeli territory. Whether it’s any of the three above offers or something else it has to be so that the UN has nothing in it to condemn it.
    However what the Palestinians have to recognize that they may be welcome tourists in the same manner that Israelis are in Egypt that “The Dome on the Rock” or any religious thing in Jerusalem is in Israeli hands-they got Mecca and Medina.

  • Ziv Tikhonov says

    Some fact people forgot or didnt know –
    Israel alrady made “safe passage” from gaza to west bank – i know that couse i live near this road .it was made in late 90s i think.
    Its road from Erez near Gaza to Tarkumia.
    It was used for some time (i think).

    The exampe of US givin one of its state not so good couse there was never in human history state of Palestine and the origin of the name palestine has nothin to do with Palestinians (historical fact u probably know).
    Historical documant that talk of palestine(population) before 1948 includes Jordan so the numbers of arabs in Israeli (modern) borders were much lesser than many think.

  • stephenG says

    Bottom line we as Jews were able to convince the “righteousness” of our claim to the State of Israel by selling them the idea we were the only people that didn’t have their own home. Germans had Germany, Italians had Italy etc. This was a somewhat false argument as actually Germany was a combo of Franks, the Saxons, the Swabians and the Bavarians at the least and who had they displaced?
    For that matter, what is a Jew? Certainly the way Rabbinate is behaving in Israel they’re excluding lots of people making a claim to Judaism. When did the Rabbinate get such dictatorial powers? I grew up thinking Rabbi meant teacher. Are we becoming Catholic and giving them “Papal” powers?
    For Jews to have Israel because of biblical promise-well that’s only to happen when the Messiah comes. So while there were Jews always in Palestine they were certainly outnumbered by an Arab presence even three years after the Balfour declaration Jews were not even 20% of the population. Presently, the Jewish population will be again out-numbered by the Arab population because of birth rates this is why we need them to have a Palestinian state.
    As Jews we must be grateful there is Israel and not allow it to perish. We should be proud of what has been accomplished and is being accomplished there. As stated if we have a right historically to Israel than it’s via divine right and I don’t see any Messiah at present.
    Jews took an area that was a dessert and made it bloom, they introduce modernity and democracy something still mostly rare in that part of the planet. This however doesn’t justify its presence anymore than being white in North America justifies our dominance over the aboriginal population.
    History is most often written by the victors. How am I to go back to where I came from when I’m where I came from and how is an Israeli to go back to where he came from when Israel is where he came from?
    To argue against a Palestine State is to deny that Israel should be. To negotiate it-I’ve said and will repeat –next to impossible so it might just be on Israel to create it. Make sure it includes a road from Erez near Gaza to Tarkumia.


    A provocative article, going viral in the US of A and which Rabbi Gordis may soon somment on:


  • Next year I’ll be 90, I hope. I was born in Turkey of Russian fugitives — one a communist, the other a white guard. I’m a WW2 veteran and I’ve had experience and cynicism enough to shed all judgements about the rationalized depths to which Israeli society has fallen, vis a vis Palestinians and vice versa.

    So facts, shmacts … do what it takes to survive, or the ‘big picture’ will fade unseen. Suffice it to say that now it’s only a simple matter of the survival of a Jewish state, adrift like a raft of flotsam in the middle of an ocean full of sharks.

    I’m for Israel, WHATEVER IT TAKES !!!

  • Ziv Tikhonov says

    Some part from -Code of Conduct – IDF

    Human Dignity – “The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position.”

    Human Life – “The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life. During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the extent required to carry out their mission.”

    Purity of Arms – “The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property.”

    This is what every israeli soldier have to learn in their first weak in the army and have it on him all time.
    They have to act by this code and refuse any order given against this code.

  • Victoria says

    I will tell it to you straight, as an American Jew. There is a fast rising river of hatred in America against the Jews, and all of us ignore it at our peril. Everything Israel does that results in death of “innocent” people (and you know what I mean by that), raises the waters higher. At this point I find it totally offensive that Israeli Jews would tell American Jews that it isn’t our problem what Israel does. Yes IT IS OUR PROBLEM. The anti-semitism is roiling under the surface of America and it is increasingly breaching the surface.

    Please. We have to change this. It doesn’t matter that we will always have our enemies, that is obvious. What matters is that we show ourselves to be a force of light in the world. If we can’t do that, we are in serious trouble. Israel has a major PR problem and we need a serious effort to fix it. Stop acting like the rest of the world doesn’t matter. Stop acting like Jews in America are separate from you. We are not.

    I’m nauseated by what I have to deal with every single day. My politics are basically progressive, but it is exactly from the “left” wing in America that the anti-Israel sentiment is coming. You are losing your support from the Left — it is almost gone, do you realize that?

    Look at the Left wing news sources online — they are publishing all sorts of things against Israel, some of which are barely veiled hate-speech against the Jews.

    I want to work against this like so many others but WE NEED ISRAEL TO WORK WITH US.

    When you bungle things to the extent that you did with the flotilla, it’s a nightmare here. The reports are coming out now that people were shot execution style. There is no word from Israel. What are American Jews supposed to say to this?

    Now Helen Thomas and her remarks are fueling even more the fires of righteous anger against Israel and the Jews.

    We need a very serious and reasonable movement toward peace to emerge vocally within Israel that American Jews can champion. The Palestinians have long been used by the Arab states as pawns — but that strategy is WORKING. The world is outraged over Gaza. How long do you think this can last. What do you plan to do about it??

    American Jews on the Left no longer know how to speak about Israel without sounding like they’re defending a military apartheid state. What can we do here?

  • Victoria,

    Your concern that Israel’s Flotilla response has raised your fear level that anti-Semitism will break out is America is well noted among the liberal left. I am mortified at the thought that you might be denied seating in the poshiest restaurants for your Shabbat Dinner because you are a Jew. It can get worse, your car might get egged, perhaps you will denied a job because they have “enough Jews”, you might be named called, perhaps denied the ability to live in the “right” neighborhood because you are a Jew and the non-Jews have had enough of the “Jews.” Our concern for your terrible suffering must be considered. Israelis, the Jewish, Muslim and Christians who live there, must be made to give in so that you will be secure. Israel must permit more uninspected cargoes to come in, with supplies of murderous weapons, to Gaza. Food, electricity, water, medicine is not lacking in Gaza. They must permit missiles, weapons of mass destruction and hate to be imported and hence exported. Israelis must commit SUICIDE, have their sons and daughters murdered, dismembered, attacked wherever they go to be sure you will not be called “Jew” or spat upon. You certainly prefer that Israeli soldiers die so you can feel secure when you leave synagogue for your annual beat your breast before God on Yom Kippur and know that no one slashed your tires. Remember all you have to be in shul for is Yizkor, the early bird at Woo Shi Chu’s begins at 1:30 pm. I think you and your Progressive friends are correct – let the Israelis die – so you won’t have to know you are a Jew – no matter how much you pretend otherwise. By the way did you send your yearly donation to the Federation yet? I know it did not go to JNF.

  • Victoria says

    Jerry, I understand your feelings, but the truth is your comments show a deep disdain for American Jews that actually surpasses a lot of the Jew hatred coming from our local anti-semites. Bravo.

    Does it really serve anyone’s purpose to ignore what I am telling you, the reality here in America, where the Left is mounting their call to pull money away from Israel? I am regularly besieged by earnest wide-eyed activists in parking lots trying to get me to sign petitions to stop funding Israel, every single day there are radio shows with people calling in saying Americans must no longer support Israel — but I should ignore this? This is not important? Why, because you don’t want to hear it? Because you would rather insult me?

    Your comments are not only full of hate, but they are utterly pointless. Did I say “give in”? Did I say commit suicide? Is that all you can hear? Or does it just make you feel better to think that American Jews are your enemy?

    And is suicide or endless war the only real options? Is no hope of peace in the future for Israel? Where is the hope? What is the path for all of us to support?

    I sure as hell don’t find any hope in your words, but maybe that’s what I need to know.

  • Victoria says

    Perhaps, Jerry — as I am thinking about it — you are telling me the truth and I need to hear the truth. Perhaps the overarching mindset of Israel is reflected in your words.

    What that means is that when my tires are slashed, I am spat upon, my synagogue is defaced and/or smashed, I am denied work, and everyone I work with politically for other causes is against Israel, my only real option is to wave the Israeli flag higher and take the consequences as they come, without ever telling anyone in Israel what I am facing because I will know that they couldn’t care less.

    Let me know if that is accurate, because all I want is the truth.

  • Ziv Tikhonov says


    As Israeli i can understand what u r talking about.
    One thing many American including jew should understand is that America dont just give mouney to israel its two way street, Americaget in return technology developed in israel and right to use it and to say to israel who can buy it from israel.And anather thing Anerica gets is a stable base in midle east and america has lots of intrests in this area.
    the ather side of this American Jews, they give mouney to israel and israeli politician without understanding who and why they r givin it.
    jews im america should know that they can influence israeli politics. When donate money to Ortodox jews they should know that the same people who take this money dont ecsept your way of life. There r mouch more Reform jew than ortodox and yet the ortodox is the leading voice in israel and have direct impact on israeli politics.
    Yesterday former prime minister Ehud Olmert said that the problem in israel today is that israel stoped Initiating and started to folow/drift after athers. Look at Ariel Sharon who was right side of the political map in israel but he knew he has to initiating couse this way he had internetional suppoert. Ehud Olmer as well tried everythin couse he knew thatisraeli probleme is not palestinians but internetional comunety. Palestinian will probebly never be seticfied that way they ignored or rejected all israeli steps but the wotld did suport those steps.
    Israeli politician understand the power of american jews but those jews (like u) should make their voice but not by condeming it rather encorege to make stepr forward.

    Again sory for my english

  • Victoria says

    Thank you Ziv, that was a much more thoughtful response to me, and I appreciate it.

    Most American Jews (not all) do not want to condemn Israel, ever, certainly not me. My mother lived in Israel for many years and I have many cousins there now, and I care about their safety and the future of the state. I care about the future of the Jewish world, and yes, I care about my own safety and security in the United States as well, and that of Jews everywhere.

    What is particularly upsetting is when Israel uses — or is perceived to use — more force than in necessary in its military, taking many lives that it should not take. Israelis may say this does not happen, but the perception all over the world is that it does. Don’t shoot me for being the messenger, this is the truth. The flotilla is the latest example, and now the story is that people were executed with multiple shots to the back of the head. Is this true? Is it a lie? I don’t know. If it is true, why was it done? Was it really necessary?

    Please understand that young people, including Jewish people, in the USA want, in general, to be part of peace movements. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. The trend here is away from war, and many people are opposing the US government in it’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is increasingly difficult to make the case for continued war funding for Israel when there seems to be no end to it. At least there has to be some sort of hope, something we can point to and say — this is the way forward, this is what Jews in Israel who want peace are working toward.

    I know my position is not popular and it angers people in Israel to hear it but I am Jewish so I speak my mind like a Jewish person.

    What is the step forward that you think Israel should make? And how can Israelis who want peace make their voice heard loud so the whole world can hear it?

  • Ziv Tikhonov says

    First of all i have to say that theres no chance that people were executed, and if u want i will expalin u why.As Israeli officer i know somethin like this just cant happend and if it did hapend i would be already out.

    Nothin of what u say angers me and more that that thing not mouch diferent from this can be heard in israeli parlament every day.
    Very big precent of israeli public (65-75%) ecsept the two states solution of this conflict and the only diferents between the major parties in israel is how to get this two states solution. This day our goverment is doing nothin and its very frastreiting for many people in israel.
    Many think that the reason that coused this latest “problem” is that there is no proces no talks no negotiations – NOTHIN.
    Our probleme is that there r many parties and some times becouse of the political system of coalitions many small parties that have less than 10 precent of the public votes have more influence on the goverment than those parties that bigger than them.I hope this will change in the futer by israelis and as i said remmember that your voice is also count.
    Many israel belive that one of our biggest problems is PR . i dont think its big as people think but there is true in this claim. One of the reason for that that its easy to covver israel , what ather place in the world that have armed conflict that u can covver that easely as it easy in israel. Press can go every were they want ask any thin anyone and in the end of the day they go to tel aviv or jerusalem to Pabs and resturans . If u look in the world news u will find that every day many civilian beeing kiiled around the world but the almost not covered by media.For example yesterday 71 civilians killed in etyopia, 30+ in azeibrjan , who know how many in afganistan and pakistan and i want even talk of darfur, but still israel is mouch more interesting couse those reporters want dare to go to darfur or enter war zones in afganistan and in israel as democratic country they can cover “war” and live in western world.

  • Ziv Tikhonov says

    sorry not ajeibrjan

  • Judith says

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote a series of essays in the 1920’s about Zionism. It will help you understand a few things and will make those you have been trying to communicate with uncomfortable.

    “The Zionist movement is idealistic…..

    America’s fundamental law seeks to make real the brotherhood of man. That brotherhood became the Jewish fundamental law more than twenty-five hundred years ago.

    America is full of nationalities which, while accepting with enthusiasm their new American citizenship, nevertheless look to some center in the old world as the source and inspiration of their national culture and traditions.

    There is no inconsistency between loyalty to America and loyalty to Jewry. The Jewish spirit, the product of our religion and experiences, is essentially modern and essentially American….

    Shall we voluntarily yield to anti-Semitism, and instead of solving our “problem” end it by noble suicide? Surely this is no time for Jews to despair. Let us make clear to the world that we too are a nationality striving for equal rights to life and to self-expression.

    They believe that only in Palestine can Jewish life be fully protected from the forces of disintegration; that there alone can the Jewish spirit reach its full and natural development; and that by securing for those Jews who wish to settle there the opportunity to do so, not only those Jews, but all Jews will be benefited, and that the long perplexing Jewish Problem will, at fast, find solution.

    And since death is not a solution of the problem of life, the solution of the Jewish Problem necessarily involves the continued existence of the Jews as Jews. – Brandeis- the Jewish Problem

    We seek to protect as individuals those constituting a minority; but we fail to realize that protection cannot be complete unless group equality also is recognized”. Brandeis – Brandeis The Jewish Problem

    The Zionist movement is idealistic and in the best traditions of American traditions. Mistakes have been made and things need to be fixed but central to the understanding the discussions is that Israel and the Jews are under no mandate to commit suicide. It is not a solution for either side.

    How can you negotiate a peace with someone who only wants to kill you? Hamas, Hezbollah, the P.L.O., you have faced them many times defending your home. How do you negotiate with those who only desire your blood?

    Israel left Gaza and asked for nothing. She left infrastructure, ongoing businesses that could provide jobs and a future to Gazans. She did not destroy the buildings, the water systems, the electrical systems, the communication systems, the roads, the orchards – she gave them to the Palestinians.

    What did the Palestinians and later the Hamas rulers do with them? You know the answer; they converted the assets into vehicles of death raining on Israel’s cities and civilian population.

    You are confused that the Press sits in the safe cafes of Tel Aviv and writes about Gaza from dispatches from Hamas. Some press do go out and try to report the story but invariably it is their editors that censure the result. Reporting the truth and shaping the story are market based items. If a media outlet, suddenly, honestly, started reporting what was going on it would affect sales. The media outlet has to reflect the biases and prejudices of its buying public – not always seek the truth. The T.V. commentators you watch reflect your views. Few leftists watch Fox News and few people on the right watch MSNBC.

    Did it ever occur to you how few of the media ever reported critically on Barack Obama and why not?

    Until the meteoric rise of Fox News, the media was monopolistically very left centered with a strong dominance of anti-capitalist, anti-Christian, anti-democratic, anti-Israel biases. The left is very uncomfortable with people of faith and values other than their own. Note I did not say the left is anti-Semitic. Until the Helen Thomas affair, open anti-Semitism was not politically correct. It is politically correct to be anti-Israel. Who are the Israelis, 80% are Jews. The mainstream leftist media is now finding it o.k. to remove their veil. Whoopee Goldberg, on the popular media talk show – the View- validated Thomas’s point of view. ( I hope Goldberg is more ignorant of history than bigoted.) Helen Thomas is deeply bigoted. She simply voiced what many on the liberal left feel, that the Jews – note not Israelis – are wrong re: the Palestinian issue. What you are seeing is the reemergence of classical anti-Semitism. The American Jewish community has begun to feel fear. They are confused. They are not prepared for it.

    American Jews suffer from the battered wife syndrome. The battered wife syndrome is, after a vicious beating by a hating, angry husband the wife says, it was her fault for not having cooked his dinner better.

    If only Israel had done this or that better the world would love us. If Jews are less Jewish the world will love us. Herzl used to have a Christmas tree in his home. He delighted in lighting the Christmas candles with his children. He considered a solution to the Jewish problem would be if the Jews converted to Christianity, then Jew hatred would cease. His son Hans did in fact convert to Christianity. In the end, before Hans killed himself in frustration and deep depression, he wrote, “A Jew is a Jew, is a Jew.”

    The Holocaust raged in Europe as American and British Jews were afraid to rock the boat and protest. Hillel Kook (Peter Bergson) came to the States as Jabotinsky’s representative -1940. He raged on behalf of dying European Jewry against the anti-Semitism of Roosevelt. He was bitterly vilified by American, British and sadly Zionist establishment Jewry. They feared it would lead to anti-Semitism in the U.S. and Britain if the war effort was diverted, even a little, to save Jews. They feared that Americans would turn on them. Any different with your discussion today? Jews defending themselves is causing the rise of anti-Semitism.

    You point out all the wonderful things Israel produces in technological, medical, intellectual, cultural advances as reasons for Israel to exist. The haters ask simply why do they have to live in Israel to make these advances? Can they not live in America and do the same things? They are correct. The advances can be made in America just as well. It is not a good excuse for Israel to exist.

    Israel is the only country in the Muslim dominated land areas that has freedom of religion, speech, human rights, economic and social freedom, liberation of women, concern for and protection of minorities including the weak and powerless. Israel is a democracy. Democracy is imperfect but it sure beats the alternate forms of government.

    Israel is far from perfect. Even in their imperfections they are a horrific thorn in the side of the Arabs. They are a shining example of a better world for Muslims within their own countries and cultures.

    For the left, good and evil is relative. Is good and evil so relative that it is not obvious? The hanging of a seven year old boy by the Taliban a few days ago as a Western spy is excused by them as a relative good. Leftists explain it away instead of being filled with righteous horror at the evil it truly is. Fighting the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. is backed away from by the left. They say it is their lives, their cultures, their religion and they have a right to run things as they see it. If you accept that, the next time you see a old woman lying in the street having fallen, step over her and keep moving. It is not your problem. It is her family’s problem.

    Jews are the world’s humanitarians by nature, culture and faith. We have been and always are the victims, so we understand victimhood. We feel the pain of the oppressed. No one argues that we can do better. We can.

    Stop trying to kill us first.

    And Ziv, I am equally revolted, by the quickness which some Jews are willing to accept the accusation that Israeli soldiers defending themselves from obvious lethal attack executed the Turkish IHH members. It reflects on their own human values and whom they really struggle to identify with.

  • Kay Ohana says

    To: Ziv Tikhonov

    I’m an elderly lady, a Jew, who lives in a small community in Montana, USA. In this state there are very few of us, so what we say to our 3 government representatives don’t have much weight. However, every one of us that I have met, support Israel. We don’t always agree with the decisions your government makes, but we love and support Israel.

    I spend a great deal of time reading newspapers, blogs, and online magazines. My problem is not knowing who is reporting the truth. Sometimes the most respected media reports outrages things, that my intelligence tells me couldn’t possibility be. Then comments from around the world come from Jews who should know better, but don’t. I then realize most people don’t really read or understand what they read. The responses to this article of Daniel Gordis’ have many who explain facts, including you, but so many others display their ignorance, prejudices and bigotry.

    Most people in my small town know I am a Jew, and every now and then I get a phone call or an e-mail calling me names. Mostly when our small daily paper picks some anti-Israel headline from the Associated Press to publish. I always write a letter, but it never gets published. I wish I had someone in Israel I could write to and ask questions, who would answer me. My daughter’s paternal grandmother’s family was from Belarus.

    By the way, do not apologize for your English; you put forth your ideas and facts very well, better than many who have an excellent command of English

  • Randall Laraway says

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Israel had and always will have the inalienable right to not only defend herself but to prevent her enemies from obtaining more munitions to shoot and fire over Gaza borders at Israeli targets. I sincerely hope that America as a whole supports Israel at all costs. Israel is a democracy and is a bullwark against terrorism in the Middle East.
    Those who play the ignorance card only live up to their stupidity and lack of convictions to stand up for what WE all know is the RIGHT THING to do. And may I add that any and all Arabic peoples who claim Islamic Jihad are simply pure fools to believe as they do. God is a GOD of love, which these talibans and all other terrorists have not the guts enough to inquire about the LORD GOD on their own. They are but the pawns of Satan out of fear of reprisal from their own people. AGAIN—GOD does not operate like that.

  • Victoria says

    Judith wrote: “And Ziv, I am equally revolted, by the quickness which some Jews are willing to accept the accusation that Israeli soldiers defending themselves from obvious lethal attack executed the Turkish IHH members. It reflects on their own human values and whom they really struggle to identify with.”

    Judith, you made many comments in your letter that I appreciated and wanted to respond to, but this last statement left me feeling the usual bitter taste.

    What is really reflected in Jews believing those people on the flotilla were executed is . . . well, the Turkish autopsy reports that states those people were executed on the flotilla.

    Now, that is all we have heard here in the states. We haven’t heard anything else, I haven’t read an official condemnation of that lie by the Israeli government. Perhaps I have missed it, but I’ve been following the news stories.

    So . . . once again, American Jews, far away from Israel, can only listen to the sounds of this war and try to understand. Is the Turkish government lying? Maybe it is, but why? To pull away from Israel? To give in to its Islamic extremist factions?

    You mention Fox News. Fox News is supportive of Israel, yes. In general. But it is also one of the most shockingly effecient vehicles for lies and propaganda this country has ever seen. Fox News (or Faux News, as it is called) is a well known tragedy that we’ve been enduring for many years now, and the incredible stream of misinformation that comes from that horrible media power has done incalculable damage to our country.

    So please, don’t do Israel any more PR damage by relating it to Fox. Fox is a GOP spin machine that never stops.

    One of the problems is that young people on the Left in the US have never had to fight for anything, ever. I’m not going to count the wars of aggression we like to wage, because they might defend and further many of our financial and strategic interests, but we would survive without fighting them. They are not wars of survival, we don’t know from those, and I can speak for my own generation (I’m 34) and the next — we have no concept of being under attack and fighting for our lives. We came right at the end of Vietnam, so our “peace” movements are not even rooted in that reality of death.

    Our concept of peace is intellectual, it has never been tested. I think 99.9% of us would fail the test quickly. We would fight and kill to protect ourselves and our families, and do things we don’t want to think are possible.

    Anyway, it’s late and there is no point in me going on and on . . .

  • Judith says


    If that really is your name.

    At first I honestly thought you were struggling with the issue of Israeli’s right to self defense and related problems of how they reacted to the Flotilla issue. After your last response, which clearly is full of hatred for Israel, the U.S., Fox News and jumped instantly for your source of information to the IHH site that alleges Israel executed the 9 Turkish flotilla members, I knew you might not be who you claim to be. I have heard of infiltration of web sites by those trying to shape, and in your case distort, opinion by pretending to be reasonable people. It is quite obvious to me now that your visceral hatred for any news source that does not agree with your twisted views must be demonized. Agressive demonization is a tactic when confronted by reasonableness and counter arguments. I do not believe you are who you say you are – there is much to much hatred in your emails.

  • Like a soft golden beam of sunshine which victoriously filters it’s light down into the dark mire and caverns below; Like the goodness of Truth whose Purity causes inequity to fall back and be rendered void;
    Forcing Israel to sit down to the table with Avowed Enemies, is tantamount to asking Israel to Strap on TNT and surrender ourselves to Death in martyrdom.

    We cannot do that. Israel is called to Life. It is not a suggestion; it is a Commandment from The Creator God of Heaven and Earth, and the King of Israel.

    Therefore, the appropriate next step for Israel to take, is to judiciously state the facts which are that our enemies do not wish to deal righteously with us, and refuse to rescind their vow to destroy Israel. Therefore, they are in DEFAULT of upholding their part of the proposals arranged by the Nations and which Israel has participated in. Israel
    must therefore back out of any and all Peace Agreements with the PA, since they
    have abrogated these Accords and instead have permitted known terrorists to take overt and covert positions in their governments.

    I would propose that the people who currently live in the Gaza Strip be absorbed into the United States, Jordan and the European Union as a token of goodwill by those far more capable to further the cause for Peace, than Israel.

    We can no longer participate in the charade. Additionaly, since these Nations
    are so hell bent on our dealing with the devil, I say, let them show us how. Take them to yourselves and lead the way!

    If I were to produce the list of Israeli innocent victims who were murdered since the Infitifada began, this would supply
    the proof text of my point.

    Israel is for Israeli’s and for humans who
    seek to live together in Peace with the children of Israel, the chosen of God; The King of Israel is His Name.

    Please contact me if you would like to help me write up the proposition to withdraw from our agreements which are
    fully abrogated by the current residents of G’DS LAND.. for the Land belongs to Elohim and He has chosen Israel to inhabit the land. I stand with Israel and the cause of truth in the world.

    Davida Geller Rosenberg

  • Victoria says


    You are completely wrong about me, so whatever is motivating your paranoia, it’s not helping you see the truth.

    I have no idea why you want to defend Fox News, but I will speak the truth about what Fox News is — and this has NOTHING to do with Israel. They are supportive of Israel for the same reason a lot of conservatives are. It’s not the ideological position that I have a problem with, please understand that.

    What the problem is, is that Fox New is a propaganda machine that spills out lies all day long. They simply lie, constantly, about everything, in order to shape the nation the way THEY see fit. And they do it all under the banner of “Fair and Balanced” which is the ultimate insult to injury. These lies, this constant attack on people THEY see don’t agree with, is damaging the very social fabric of the USA, creating more polarization, morei misinformed, angry people, and an entre generation of people who don’t know what an actual NEWS show should be — actually fair and balanced!

    Judith, there have been movies made about how Fox News lies. People have considered creating some sort of legislation to deal with the problem. If you are defending Fox News, I can only assume you don’t actually watch it very much. If you watch it and defend it . . . well, you are among millions who do, and I wish there was some way to get you and the others to see the truth — but look at the vicious way you defend it and attack me!

    Judith, my response was not in the slightest bit “full of hatred of Israel and the US.” Your attack on me is baseless, and it just makes me sad to see someone so willing to jump to extremes when confronted by truths you don’t want to hear — which is what you accuse me of doing, but really it is you.

    I would hope in the future you can avoid these kinds of attacks and take a moment to get some perspective before you start accusing someone of being a spy, hating their country, and lying about who they are.

    And yes, Victoria is my name.

  • Victoria says

    The reason why Fox News matters in this conversation is because this whole commentary is on an article about the left-wing of the USA and why the Jewish progressives here have a hard time supporting everything that Israel does, no matter what the cost.

    When I said please don’t give Israel any more bad PR by relating it to Fox News, I am explaining exactly how the Left in the USA feels about Fox News. They don’t trust it, they feel it is a force of lies, hatred and fear. In truth, they absolutely despise it and if they could, they would shut it down immediately and forever.

    That said, I also have serious problems with the Left wing icons of news — in particular Amy Goodman, who speaks against Israel regularly. I think Amy’s show, Democracy Now, is responsible in large part for much of the anti-Israel sentiment among young Left leaning people. Noam Chomsky is her regular guest, and you know how he speaks against Israel all the time, calling it an apartheid state.

    There is very little in the way of truly fair and balanced news available today, we all have to learn as much as we can and sort through it using our own discretion and intelligence.

    If we can keep from insulting and attacking each other on these threads, I think this kind of dialog online is among our greatest hopes for furthering our understanding of the world we’re living in.

  • Kay Ohana says

    I have a problem with this “Chosen of G-d” business. Our Jewish scripture states this is so, but Christian scripture states that Jesus is the “light ”, and thus believing this, all Christians should be also of the “Chosen”. Muslims believe Muhammad arrived to set both the Jews and the Christians straight on this matter, only Muslims are “Chosen”. For hundreds of years the Christians tried to prove they were the chosen by the sword. They finally gave up, and now only the Muslims are trying to prove by the sword they are The Chosen. I give grateful thanks to the Hindus and Buddhists.

    The Jewish scripture does indeed call us G-d’s chosen, however, almost always when this expression is used the rest of the scripture is left out. I am not going to quote the passages but do read: Isaiah 10:17; 40:6-7; 49:06; 51:04 and 60 the whole chapter. My favorite of the prophets is Micah chapter 6, verses 8 and 9. The Christian scripture is Matthew 5:14 & 16. However keep in mind that it is claimed Jesus was a Jew and is preaching to other Jews. The command is to be a “light unto the nations” with loving kindness, justice, and mercy. It does not allow us to commit suicide. Only the Christians are to “turn the other cheek,” which they haven’t been doing much of lately where Israel is concerned, but sure do with the Muslim extremists. Talk about kissing behinds!

    To Judith and Victoria, if you are both Jewish girls then you are my sisters, so keep it nice. You both have interesting things to say even if of differing opinions. I want to tell a little story here. Many moons ago, my daughter (then age 8) was visiting her dad and grandmother. They were in the car squabbling about something, with my daughter sitting between them. My daughter said, “When I do that, my other grandmother says I’m being argumentative”. Her Belarus Gram replied with a hug and smile, “If you didn’t do that then you wouldn’t be one of us”.

    I agree with Victoria about Fox news, and include most other news media as well. And Victoria, study up on the current Turkish government/leaders. Indeed they lie. It’s inane for Turkey to head an “investigation” into the “raid”, like turning the fox loose in a hen house. Another Goldstone report. For several years I watched news from 4:00 in the afternoon until 9:00 each night. I started with ABC World News; local news; NBC Nightly news; BBC World News; CBS Evening News; Washington Week and McLaughlin. Meet the Press on Sunday mornings, Fox and CNN I could pick up from the Internet. All of them without exception seemed to echo each other with the same versions of the news. Fox and BBC with outright lies, just different ones. I find newspapers about the same. Most of them picking up stories from the associated press and the analysts seem to be the real power behind shaping the news. It is understandable that American Jews are confused; including friend “David”, and when they toss in their own 2 cents it becomes a squabble between Jews, who should be seeking to form a ring of support around Israel until the real truth be known. I also find fewer and fewer people who have any knowledge of history. Not ancient history or modern.

    Each week the news is a big surprise to them and they believe what was said today, not what was known even as far back as 5 years. Especially where Israel is concerned. If anyone believed the claim of the Turks of assassinations, they have a sad reality of the whole picture. The IDF wouldn’t do such a thing with their own morality, plus cameras rolling from both their own and those on the ships. Give me one good reason the IDF should have to defend themselves from such a stupid charge?I rarely watch TV news any more, or shows like “The View”, etc., it raises my blood pressure. I read newspapers and blogs from around the world on the Internet and try to glean a bit of truth. What I don’t do is read anti-Israel news, blogs or Internet offerings. You cannot get eggs from foxes. There is enough venomous responses to legitimate offerings such as Dr. Gordis’ to know what would be offered.

    I know of a Jewish person that may have helped Obama write his Cairo speech. I printed out the entire text of that speech and on the first page were 6 historical errors! When I asked about this, I was told I just didn’t understand what purpose the speech was for, and no explanation was forth coming. At that moment, I realized that perhaps I might have voted for the wrong person if he were that ignorant of history. BTW, it’s been pointed out that 70% of American Jews voted for Obama, but our other choice was an elderly man with medical problems who chose an ignorant, bigoted, female for a running mate. Most of us who were behind Hillary Clinton were dismayed when Obama won the nomination. The GOP made the mistake of thinking we would vote for any female regardless of qualifications. So please Israelis forgive us for Obama, he walked the walk, talked the talk, and we fell for it. I also think he has been convinced by the powers behind the throne he has no choice but to cater to the oil interests.

  • Victoria says


    Thank you for your input. I am Jewish, yes, and like many other American Jews raised in a secular manner, I am reaching a place where I have to understand what my Jewishness means to me. Right now I’m working for an online company that caters to Jewish organizations and synagogues, so I am probably more steeped in Judaism than at any other time in my life. My boss is always giving me books to read, I know he wants to “bring me over” to the more observant side. I am open to all information right now, and I want to learn as much as I can about Israel.

    Your question about why the IDF should defend itself stands out to me. I will give you a very good reason why they should defend themselves. BECAUSE PEOPLE BELIEVE THE CHARGE. The reason I post so vehemently on this site is because, as I’ve said, I’ve been dealing with the blow back here in the states over what happened on the flotilla. I’ve spent many days online just defending Israel against the neo-nazi scumbags who are screaming their hatred all over the place. People tell me it is pointless to do this, but I can’t agree. I don’t want these people to dominate the discussion. I don’t want them to influence more people against the Jews.

    I am saying that we need to hear all the most reasonable voices from Israel, louder and far more often than we do. Jews in the states NEED to hear from our Jewish family in Israel, we need to create a dialog that helps all of us to understand what is going on there.

    A lot of the voices on this thread have helped me to understand more.

    Also, you make the point that if we are Jewish, we are sisters. I think this is part of my problem. I feel that way as well, and my character is such that when I feel my family is under attack, I defend with ferocity. Maybe it’s even more so because I’m Jewish! But being a person who also wants peace, and works toward peace in the world and in my own life, this is very difficult. Because the Jews are under attack, and I want to defend them ferociously! But NOT BLINDLY. What I’m saying is, I need information. I need to be able to defend Israel from a more intelligent place than I’m currently standing. I also need to understand the Israeli mindset and how people feel about what their own government is doing in Israel.

    If the mindset of most Israelis is that war is the only way, the Palestinians should be purged, and the American Jews should keep their mouth shut about whatever Israel does . . . that is not a position I probably will able to support, and I will feel my hands are tied in defending Israel. I will have to sit back and watch the hatred grow, feeling helpless.

    I don’t think this is the case, however, and I just want to call out to Israeli Jews to keep the dialog open, with everyone. American Jews, Palestinians, everyone even if they are seen as the “enemy.” The only enemy I really see is ignorance and an unwillingness to forgive, to keep our hearts open, to listen.

  • Kay Ohana says

    Ah Victoria, you’ve already got a problem, there is no “Israeli mindset”. You should know that when there are two Jews together there are three opinions; yours, mine, and the other person’s. Multiply that by several million and that is what is happening in Israel, and in the old USA. But there is one thing you must understand and not forget it, Hamas and the other radicals wants us dead, no matter where we live. Israel is just the beginning. We have not yet reached the point of making peace with our enemies so they can slaughter us.
    Railing against the anti-Semitics only spins your wheels. Those people will believe what they want, and you saying different won’t change their minds.
    Your search for understanding is commendable. If you haven’t done so, read all the opinion pages of several newspapers, and all the responses. Jerusalem Post for one. Today there are several good columnist that speak out.

  • Victoria says


    You are right about that, for sure. I am one Jewish person and I must have three different opinions within myself!

    What I am learning as I continue to read is quite a bit more about Islam, and the “Islamification” of Europe. I can tell you that what is going in Europe and particularly in France and the Netherlands, is really not known or understood in most of the USA. As I read more about this it is affecting my perspective on the situation Israel finds itself in.

    I will read the Jerusalem Post, thanks.

  • Anna says

    Davida Geller Rosenberg – love your posts…love the tone. totally wish I could plagarize.

    Victoria: to your statement about “The flotilla is the latest example, and now the story is that people were executed with multiple shots to the back of the head. Is this true? Is it a lie? I don’t know. If it is true, why was it done? Was it really necessary?” I don’t know how your Hebrew is, but even if it’s non-existent, listen to the voices of the Israeli soldiers on the flotilla and tell me if this sounded like a massacre (link below). Also, hard to believe you’ve really done your research, based on the arguements you make (or I should say based on the lies you are so bent on believing are true.) You seem to be eating up, addressing and obsessing over the same type of lies spread by the Jew-haters and non-critical Israel critics, the same type of lies you so vehemently attribute to “Fox News”. Why do you so gladly eat up the lies and still haven’t found any literature on to see that the statements you make about the flotilla are, in fact, lies at worst and completely unconfirmed information, at best? This is a question, you need to ask yourself. From everything you write, it sounds like your research was done on the hate sites. Why do Israel- and Jew-haters hold more authority for you? Interesting choice, don’t you think? I don’t blame you, they do suck one in emotionally – really get the blood boiling, if you enjoy that kind of thing. But if you want the truth, as you say, you need to look elsewhere. In any case, if you want to hear raw emotions, listen to the Israeli soldiers’ voices, and the shear fear in those voices of young boys, and tell me, do you still believe this was a massacre on that flotilla?


  • Anna says

    Dear Victoria: I mentioned other sources for you to look at, when it comes to the flotila. Please, see the following web site for tons of materials that may begin to help resolve some of that confusion you are currently facing. By no means do I propose that this is an easy situation, but just wanted you to get a better perspective, then the one you’ve been choking on:



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